Friday, August 26, 2011

Meaningful First Week Activities

The first week of school generally consists of getting to know one another, in addition to discussion and practice of classroom procedures and routines. We also got our creative juices flowing by creating summer reflection writing pieces, squiggle stories, and "All About Me" mini-posters. Students are getting to know one another and me, and we are learning to work together to build a successful and positive classroom environment.

On Wednesday, I wrote out six questions, all having to do with how to make our classroom and ourselves function to the highest level, on six pieces of chart paper. Students, in groups of three, spent two minutes at each chart, collaborating and responding to each question on a sticky note. After all groups visited each chart paper station, I hung all of the charts up and we discussed each answer and noticed some very interesting trends. Here's the finished product, which you can click on to enlarge:
Inspired by Life in 4B







To tie into the previous activity, I was inspired by my wonderful teammates, Mrs. Fadden and Ms. Mattox, to develop at class pledge with my students. We reviewed our responses to the above questions, and then we put all of the ideas together to form a cohesive paragraph that we have all agreed will help us to remember why we are here at school and what our common goal is. Below is the rough draft of our class pledge (which I will type up, make pretty, and have all of my students sign):

Since we were able to develop a class goal (to achieve success in third grade), I also had each student determine an individual goal after reading the story Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. I displayed our "Hopes and Dreams" for third grade near the classroom door, so that we can refer to, and revisit, them throughout the year. Lots of students are interested in learning how to sharpen their cursive skills, multiplication and division skills. I was very impressed by the number of students ready to take on our 40 book challenge! More on that later! Here's our class display of our hopes and dreams for third grade:

Lastly, I read a book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? The premise is that everyone carries an invisible bucket everywhere they go. When your bucket is "filled" you feel happy.When your bucket is "empty" you feel sad or upset. People can fill buckets by lending a helping hand, smiling, being kind, including others in games, and more. People can empty buckets by teasing, being ungrateful, acting disrespectfully, and more. I encourage my students to recognize the actions of bucket-fillers by writing them quick note and sticking it in their bucket display. This helps make everyone feel good. When we feel good, we want others to feel good. Therefore, kindess is passed from person to person. This is our bucket-filling display, complete with ways we can fill buckets and ways we can empty buckets:

I look forward to more of these types of meaningful activities that promote teamwork, kindness, and achievement with your child!

46 comments:

  1. Love your new blog, Heather! You are super awesome!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww, hi DC!! I miss you! Hope you have a fabulous year with the gorgeous baby Connor. Would love to see you guys soon. : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. "What should kids in our class be doing to make sure our class runs as *smoothLY* as possible. The adverb is dying. It makes me sad to know that teachers are contributing to the problem. :( That being said, at least you can spell. One of my former classmates is a 6th grade Language Arts teacher, and she posted a facebook status using 'hungary' when she meant 'hungry.' :-/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You forgot the end quote in your comment. Guess everybody makes mistakes, Anonymous!

      Delete
    2. YOU should be ashamed of yourself for bashing this teacher! GET A LIFE!!!

      Delete
    3. I cannot believe that you pointed out an error while making one of your own. Why not say "thank you so much for posting these wonderful ideas." People are ridiculous.

      Delete
    4. Yes, THANK YOU, Anonymous Poster #1, for pointing out my error. I will bow my head in shame for contributing to the fall of the English language. That is very sad.

      And thank you, subsequent posters, for your sweet responses. You are the reason I share! : )

      Delete
    5. Thank you for these wonderful ideas! Don't listen to these negative comments. You are great!! :)

      Delete
    6. Thank you for your ideas! I am going to try out your poster idea next week in my 4th grade class. Thank you for taking the time to post. I know that takes a lot of time:)

      Delete
    7. Wow I hope you are not a teacher...

      Delete
  4. Hmmm...It makes me sad that instead of highlighting everything that this wonderful teacher is doing right, that someone would take this opportunity to only highlight an insignificant error that had no effect on the legibility or intent of the activity. As a teacher myself, I only hope that people will remember a little humility and that we teachers never professed to be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, everyone is not perfect! Sad indeed...anyways, on a positive note...love,love the ideas. I can't wait to use some of these ideas for my staff who are adults, lol. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for the great ideas! Glad I found your blog! Maybe stop by my new blog!
    Mindy

    iintegratetechnology@blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing. Don't listen to the people who are dipping in your bucket!

    ReplyDelete
  8. If only we could teach our children to see the good in others and skim over the unimportant things, this world would be a much more loving environment. Some of the comments make me stop to ponder why they were posted. Perhaps guilt for not being this kind of teacher?

    ReplyDelete
  9. wonderful way to promote a loving classroom and teach very important life lessons!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I will be teaching fourth grade this year and I LOVE the idea of students contributing and thining for themselves, in regards to chart paper activity. I am definantly going to try this out! Keep posting - your blog is WONDERFUL! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to know what the poster to the right of the buckets says. When I enlarge the image it gets blurry. Wonderful Ideas too!
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for asking! The poster to the right of the buckets is a simple student generated t-chart. On one side it says, "Make a list of ways to fill buckets" and on the other side it says, "Make a list of ways that dip into buckets." I found it through the original bucket filling website, but I have a copy saved on my computer and would be happy to email it to you if you would like. : )

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would love a copy emailed if you don't mind. I'm going to be using this in my classroom this year :-)

    traci@downing.us

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful Ideas!! Thanks for sharing:-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mrs. Robinson,
    I liked your idea SO MUCH it is one of the first things I ever pinned on my "Back to School" board on Pinterest. I plan to use this idea the first day of school. I took the questions from your chart papers, modified them slightly (I teach grade 6 gifted...thus the "characteristics of a teacher" modification) and created posters. If you would like a copy of them for your own use...you did inspire me...or if anyone else would like a FREE copy...please come and visit me at http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great! Can't wait to check out your posters!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love you bucket filler display. I am working on one for my classroom. I would love a copy of your t-chart and the bucket picture for the children to color if you have them. brianandlisa@usfamily.net

    ReplyDelete
  18. I did a bucket filling activity similar to yours last year. I love the t-chart idea!!! I would love to add it to my repetoir!! I am also going yo do the 6 charts with stickies!! Thanks for sharing ;)
    I would also love a copy of the t- chart if it is not too much trouble. Can't wait to see more of your ideas.
    soycruzer@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Could I have a copy of the pictures of the bucket and t-chart as well! Love it! jlb1318@comcast.net Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are such wonderful ideas! I teach 2nd grade and will be using them this year for sure! I would love if you could email me a copy of the t-chart as well and if you do have the bucket that would be very helpful. Thanks so much for sharif such great ideas!

    shorebliss@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Love this lesson...I am so doing it with my kiddos. I am new to third grade this year and was thinking of a hopes/dreams/goals lesson. Also I was already planning on doing bucket fillers too! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love your positive spirit and the post it note idea. It is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great idea! What are the six questions? thanks!
    A Colleague

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love your ideas, are you still teaching?

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are great ideas! I teach 2nd grade and will be using them this year for sure! I would appreciate it if you could email me a copy of the t-chart as well as the bucket if you have it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    mwest@rescueusd.org

    ReplyDelete
  26. All of you ideas are great! Thank you so much for sharing. Can you email me your bucket and chart? I definitely want to do this next week. Thank you nkklozano@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. SmoothLY. A class runs smoothly. It's an adverb that modifies the word run, which is a verb.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks, Anonymous. Someone upthread already pointed out my grammar error. So helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Interesting activity! Surely students really enjoyed their activity. It seems fun to do.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for posting this. We have already made plans to use this activity at the beginning of the year. Yes we saw the grammatical error, just quietly corrected it on our posters (yes they are ready). I love all of these activities which ask students to think about their own learning, and then take responsibility for it. They should be thinking for themselves!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is adorable! Thank you for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for sharing! We need this in 6th grade!!!!! Oh and I'm actually the world's worst speller, even with spell check. I'm a sixth grade science teacher and I ask my students to see who can find the most errors. They think I'm cool because I'm not perfect....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful point! It is very important that students see we make mistakes. A classroom where mistakes are "very sad" is an unsafe learning environment indeed!

      Delete
  35. I love this idea! I'm going from teaching high school to teaching grade 3 and looking for ideas to do with my students the first week or two. Would love a copy of the T-chart if possible. Also, what did you have students do on their buckets?? Did they just color them?? Or did they have to write something nice they have done for someone else?? I would love any other ideas/tips of what to do for the first week of school...so very nervous...different to high school. Thanks in Advance! my e-mail is whocares_16@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you so much for the meaningful activities! I love them! Will definitely use them this year!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Can you email me a copy of the form your students used to fill the buckets?

    amy.simon215@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete