Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day Thoughts and Four Corner Name Tags

Today went better than last year's first day, when my teammate and I promptly left school after dismissal to commiserate over pizza and beer. I'm really afraid to jinx myself, but I think I have a pretty good class, all in all. The first day always feels like one big act, though. Kind of like when I used to play school with my sister and stuffed animals. While I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the classroom management side of things, I'm finding myself a bit more stressed out about planning, especially since we're revamping all of language arts. I feel like I'm rambling on and not really thinking coherently, so I'll just share one of my favorite getting to know you activities and then head to bed.

One of the first projects that I always do on the first day of school is making four corner name tags. This idea comes from Responsive Classroom's The First Six Weeks of School. Each student decorates an index card with his or her name in the middle and then draws pictures in each corner to represent his or her family, favorite food, favorite place on earth, and favorite hobby:

Here's my example:

Once the name tags are completed, I randomly assign partners. (I used my sticker cards, which worked out great!) Partners introduce themselves to each other, and then we come together as a whole group and each student introduces his or her partner to the class. In the past, I have displayed them on a bulletin board for back to school night, but this year, I am laminating them and using them to label the student work display squares along the bottoms of my bulletin boards.

I'm really looking forward to getting to know my kids better, settling into a routine, and getting into the meat of our curriculum. I'm hoping it will be a positive year!

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