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Put Your Team on Display

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It’s the first day of a school year or the first day with a new group of students. Routines aren’t set, classes like music or PE haven’t started, and you don’t want to spend every minute explaining expectations.

What to do with this initial time that’s provides you with information about your students, gives them a chance to be creative, and begins the process of building a team in your classroom?

Have your students make people to be posted on the wall. Maybe up high, above your bulletin board?

You have a chance to talk to students as they decorate their person. You might have them add a vest or T-shirt with representations of their favorite sports, activities, or places to visit.

paper dollYou gain insight into who chooses to work carefully and may need more time in the future. Which students work very quickly and may need to be encouraged to take more time? Do you have students who may struggle with fine motor skills? You can have private conversations with students as they work.

Get started with a simple drawing on letter size or legal size paper.

You might post student work under each person or take them down at the end of the year and send them home with a final packet of papers.

What are other ideas for activities for the first day of school or the first day with a new group of students?

 

9 thoughts on “Put Your Team on Display

  1. I love the idea of using this time to observe the kids and gain insights into how they operate. It might even be helpful early in the year to keep a clipboard handy to write notes of some of those observations. To save time, just use a copy of the class list that you use to record grades or work turned in etc.

    A beginning of the year game for kids to get to know each other is one in which each child is given a sheet divided into boxes. At the top of the sheet, are the directions:” Find someone who…..” In each box will be a description such as” likes the color blue, “has a birthday in May, ” plays soccer,” etc. When they find someone who can answer yes to the description in the box, that person needs to sign his/her name. The rule is that each box must be signed by a different person. It’s a fun, safe way for kids to get comfortable with each other.

  2. As a “mathy” person, I have had the students do pictures with glyphs, which are symbols that have meanings. In this context, you might develop a code for the students that other students will have to interpret. For instance, a person with one closed eye might be a person who likes dogs more than cats; two eyes open — cats better than dogs — both eyes closed, no opinion. You can have the hands drawn showing the number of siblings or right hand shows boys, left hand shows girls, fist shows neither. You can assign meanings to the number or buttons, the type of shoes, belt or no belt. (I’d avoid glyphs about parents since it can bring up self-consciousness about non-traditional family configurations.)

    Working with glyphs, symbols and codes helps develop algebraic thinking.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I wouldn’t have thought about using symbols. Many kids love codes and helping students develop confidence with algebraic thinking is very important.

  3. I have also used this idea during the first week of school. Then, when open house comes around I have the students put their little people taped to their chairs like they are sitting at their desks. When the parents come it looks like we have a full class of students. The kids think this is so funny.

  4. I used your idea in my classroom with a small change. I added an “I Am” poem to the side of the image. I’ll send you the file so you can share it with others. Thanks for the idea.

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