We all know how important it is for students to be able to work together. And we all know that teachers spend TONS of time at the beginning of the year starting students on the road to being able to work together - building classroom community, practicing speaking and listening skills, etc. As you visit each of the blogs on the hop you'll read about great ideas to get your students working together, AND pick up some freebies you can use in your classroom.
This week was my first week of school (3 kid days, actually), so we spent most of the time getting to know each other. I really think this is one of the BEST ways to help students be able to work together. Having a strong classroom community means students feel safe and respected and are willing to take risks. Building that community takes time, and we all need to get to know each other a little at first before we put ourselves out there.
I actually did not have this activity in my plans this week. I kind of made it up Friday morning based on something we did the previous day. I had a few minutes after another "tell me about yourself" activity and asked students who were done to turn their paper over and write a sentence telling me anything I should know about them. WOW! Not only did my kiddos love this idea, but they came up with the most creative and interesting ideas - things I never would have discovered if I had stuck to the traditional talk about your pets/family/likes/dislikes, etc.
Soooo... I decided to embrace the idea and take it one step further. Before lunch we completed idea maps telling about ourselves.
(Sorry - no pictures of completed sheets - I got distracted by my shoe that broke and I had to hot glue it back together before recess ended!)
Then to start our writing time, I read I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont.
We talked about the theme of the books we have been reading (it is important to be yourself) and how this book fit in. We also discussed how everyone is different and it's what is on the INSIDE that counts. Then - we got to work!
Each person chose 3 ideas from their brainstorming sheet to write about. I only had them tell the one thing and then add a detail because we didn't have a lot of time, but let me tell you - these kiddos are writing wonders! I am sooo looking forward to what they can do as writers this year!
Then we cut and pasted and colored and shared our first flap books! Most of my darlings had no problem cutting in the right place, gluing and figuring out how it all worked. I could hear all of them helping each other - telling friends what to do next, showing them examples and being so proud of their finished work!
This sweetie was thrilled to share what a good "cooker" she was :-) Brownies are her specialty!
This guy decided to write about having a brother because "he's nicer to me than my sister is."
And this one wouldn't start coloring until he had listened to what his friend at the table wrote - they decided to read their ideas to each other and share them!
If you'd like to use this little activity in your own classroom, you can download it by clicking the image below.
(There are boy and girl brainstorming sheets and flap book covers, as well as a flap book page that is more structured.)
Ready for more ideas on working together in your classroom? Click on the link below to hop on over to Ms. Lilypad's Primary Pond and see what's up in her classroom.
Enjoy the weekend!