“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Friday, 16 August 2013

Back to School Bonanza

Back to School Bonanza

Photo of Back to School Bonanza Middle School bloggers @ Teachingisagift

Back at school already?  Feeling ready to go back to school? Feeling anxious and stressed out (like me?)?  Well here is a cure for the blues, and a motivator for the keen!  It's BACK TO SCHOOL BONANZA time sponsored by 2Peas and a Dog Blog! Kristy has worked really hard to put together this blog hop for middle school teachers.  There are lots of great bloggers participating, so don't miss out on any of the awesome freebies. 

Last year, while browsing furiously looking for back to school ideas, I saw an image on PINTEREST that caught my eye.  I think I do this last minute idea hunt every year!  I wish I could remember to make myself a FILE of what I do each year, so I would not be consumed with the need to come up with something new and interesting.  Anyhow, I found a pin that showed a group of post-it notes stuck on chart paper.  I wondered what the heck the point of all those post-it were so I clicked on the image and read what the teacher had written on her blog.  

It turned out that each piece of chart paper had a question posed at the top as the title.  Each student received 6 post it notes upon which they wrote their answers and then added them to the chart paper.  I was intrigued.  I wondered what my students would write...so I decided to try it on the first day.  

I quickly created the signs you see below, printed them on card stock and laminated them with the idea I could use them again (good thinking?...ONLY IF I CAN FIND THEM!) and attached one question to the top of a piece of chart paper.  I posted the chart paper on the walls around the my classroom.  

When I was ready to try the activity, I asked the students to take their 6 post-its with them as they did a "gallery walk" around the room.  Each student read the prompt, replied to the prompt on a post it, and then added their post it to the chart.  I did not allow more than 4 or 5 students to be in front of one piece of chart paper at a time.  I think that if I had a larger class, I would just make doubles of each chart, and the kids would only post their answer on one and I could consolidate all the post-its at recess or lunch.
Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE
 It was interesting watching the students start to read other responses as they walked around.  I encouraged them not to "copy" each other or to write what they thought was the "correct" answer, I wanted to know what they really thought.  All the responses were anonymous, so I encouraged honesty.  This might have been risky, but it is was a risk I decided I was willing to take.

The students really enjoyed the opportunity to give their response to each question.  Most of them took it very seriously and wrote something thoughtful.  They seemed to understand that I really was interested in making our classroom a community, and that I welcomed their responses.  

When everyone was finished, I allowed the students some time to go back and read the responses they had not seen earlier.  I also circulated at this point, and took some pictures.  I wanted the students to know I would keep a record of what they had said, so I could refer back to it.

I also left the charts up in the classroom for the better part of a week and a half.  It was nice to see the students continuing to read what others had said.  I think the whole experience set a great tone for the rest of the year.  I can honestly say that my first day last year was the BEST EVER....now if only I could remember what else I did....


Want More Back to School Goodies?

In case you are like me and you are a little pin obsessed, especially around this time of year, feel free to click on the button below to follow me on Pinterest.

Photo of Teachingisagift Pinterest Board

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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