Back to school:Me in a bag and a…portrait!

 

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My bag this year

It’s finally  time to start building the classroom community. As I write my lesson plans, I include getting-to-know-you activities. These activities provide opportunities for the students to interact positively with one another. The children are eager to make new friends, learn about the classroom environment, and become part of a school family. After all, the classroom will become a home away from home for the next ten months.

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Few of the items in my bag

ME IN A BAG:

I know that there are many people who already do this activity but I hope that someone will find this helpful for the beginning of the year!

Yes, this is my night buddy!! We always sleep together!

Yes, this is my night buddy!! We always sleep together!

I bring a sack with a running shoe, a bread pan, a piece of stained glass, something of my daughter’s etc .I group students and dump a few things on each table.Then, I give them a few minutes to say what they think each item says about me !I invite them to bring their own sack on the following day and I am  always surprised of how many kids  actually, bring one!  It is fun to see how excited the kids get when they discover that a classmate has something in common with them.

 

During the next lesson, students bring their own bags and let their classmates guess about the items in it!

During the next lesson, students bring their own bags and let their classmates guess about the items in it!

Note: The Me in a bag  idea is adapted from a classroom banner example. The professional book is from a Scholastic book club order. I do not think it is available from the online store at this time. You could include a simple note to families requesting three or four small objects for each child to share.

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Students spend some time trying to guess about each item in my bag…

 

Well, when it is my kids’ turn to let their classmates guess about the items in their bags, they share so many personal stories, too! A precious moment was  yesterday ,when a girl showed the class an old DVD…and finally revealed that it was her late grandmother’s birthday present when she was much younger!

What is my favourite sport? I am going to tell you why, as soon as you make the right guess!

What is my favourite sport? I am going to tell you why, as soon as you make the right guess!

 

They used to watch it together, laugh and share unforgetable moments ! Then , she broke down in tears!! ” I really miss my grandma, miss” she said! I gave her a hug and thanked her for sharing such a precious moment with the rest of the class!

Guess about my talents!

Guess about my talents!

 

MY PARTNER’S  PORTRAIT

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After the portraits are ready, they are handed to the kids who use the frames to write words which talk about them.

I have students draw and color their partner’s portrait on the first day of school. These portraits make perfect keepsakes to pull out at the end of the year. Students are later , asked to brainstorm descriptive phrases and adjectives to write on the frame of their portrait , which talk about their special interests personality and talents! They are also free to comment on their partner’s portrait. Finally, all portraits are displayed in class. Rapport matters!

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Their partner, can’t see his/her portrait until it’s done!They may comment on it later…

Rapport activity: make your partner's portrait the way you see him/her , add adjectives which you think describe their character and personality !

Rapport activity: make your partner’s portrait the way you see him/her , add adjectives which you think describe their character and personality !

Rapport matters!

Rapport matters!

 

 

 

 

 

Building self- esteem, on day one- part 1

 

Passing the ball self-esteem games

Passing the ball self-esteem games

 

I always include creative activities to build self-esteem in my curriculum. We all know that, students  with low self-esteem often can feel powerless, lonely, resentful, defensive and easily frustrated. These feelings can lead to aggression, teasing and bullying behaviour. Students with high self-esteem are proud of themselves, assume responsibility for their own actions and deal with frustration well.

I deal with such self-esteem building activities, mainly during the first two weeks of each new school year! But, I do make sure that, I always  include cooperative, nurturing games in my class, throughout the curriculum.

Passing the ball self-esteem games

Passing the ball self-esteem games

Initially, I introduce   large group activities with all the children. Later during the school year, I create several other self-esteem activities such as  “My Family Book”, a book about themselves and their family (they can draw, use photographs, etc.) “My Tree/My Hand Activities”, in which each child does one leaf about themselves and then, the leaves are all put on the tree. while for “My Hand” each child traces her hand and writes something about herself on each finger. Sometimes, I use books to develop self-esteem ( a favourite one is “The Incredible You! 10 Ways to be Happy, Inside and Out”  by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer) . We also do several writing activities at the beginning of each school year,  such as ” I am special because..” -which I am going to write more about during the following few weeks…..

My name is and I can....

My name is and I can….

First day in class after the summer break today, with my 3rd and 4th graders, after such a long time! I decided to spend half the lesson using the icebreakers below, in order to foster children’s self-esteem. Today’s activities , were used to to reinforce strengths and to help build individual self-esteem before the learning took  place.

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Task 1- the circle 1-sitting

My name is…and this is…(3rd graders)

My name is …and I’m sitting next to…( 4th graders)

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My name is…and I like….

Task 2-the circle 2

My name is….and I can…(4th graders)

Follow up: write down words having to do with the things that you can do well on a Star name tag  template to be put on your desk in order  to help the teacher learn the name YOU would like her to call you.

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The Star- desk name tag template

 

Task 3- the circle 3 and ball-standing

The teacher throws the ball to a diffrent student each time who is asked to shout his/her name as loud and possible with confidence! (3rd -4th graders)

Task 4-the circle 4-standing up

My name is …and I like….(3rd graders)

My name is…and I am good at…(4th graders)

Follow up: write as many things as you can that you are good at.

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My name is…and I’m sitting next to….

 

To be continued……