Call me a softie, go ahead.
I’ve done enough talking about the importance of relationships and rapport with students that I am not ashamed of focusing on it. Whatever time I spend in the first three days (our first week) of school that builds relationships is not going to be wasted time. I truly believe that.
Thanks to Dave Burgess and Teach Like a Pirate, I began my year with both sophomores and juniors playing with Play-Doh. And as the new guy in the building, I heard all kinds of comments from other students and teachers. And they were good! The Play-Doh was to be shaped in a way to represent something about the student sculptor. This gave me a chance to try to learn everyone’s name and something about them. Learning names has always been easy for me because I knew students in the upcoming grades, and my classes weren’t as big. Now with 125 students that is a different story. Calling each student by name is one of my first yearly goals.
The second day was a collaborative group experience where students had to determine which 5 out of 10 people on a deserted island would be brought back to safety and which 5 would be left on their own. I patched a variety of images and youtube videos together to tell the scenario’s story. I added a little ridiculous voiceover and let the students decide. It was a great introduction to the collaborative projects that are coming up this year.
The connections that I have made with students will help me throughout the year. If I can convince a few reluctant students that English might be worth some effort this year, I’ve accomplished a lot. I don’t think I’ve wasted a minute.