“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

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Keeping it Class*y!

Picture of The 6 Essential Questions for Back to School from http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

What are the essential questions you ask?  Good question!  
The thought of BTS sends shivers down my spine.  I have been on vacation for three weeks now (two of them spent at the beach) but I have been seeing a lot of back to school posts on Facebook and Pinterest.  

I had the itch to redo some of my products this week.  I recently bought some super cute clip art and wanted to use it. While the weather was rainy I worked on redoing my APEC posters and my Back to School Essential Questions.  These are two of my most popular freebies.
Picture of APEC (Answer, Proof, Explain, Connect) Teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
To download your own copy just click on the image above.
A few years ago I saw a pin on Pinterest which caught my eye.  It was a picture of 6 pieces of chart paper, each with a question on the heading and numerous post-it notes on each.  I thought the idea was brilliant and I immediately decided I needed to make my own list of essential questions for my students to answer on the first day.

6 Essential Back to School Questions http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

6 Essential Back to School Questions http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I posted the chart papers around the room with the headings taped to the top. To make the activity run smoothly, I put the students into groups (I divided by 6) and then had them start at one specific question.  I gave them a few minutes to write and post their sticky note. If students finished quickly they could read the other responses, or wait quietly.  When I gave the signal, the students rotated to the next question.

After the students completed all of questions, I gave them time to revisit the sheets and read what their classmates had written.  I made sure I circulated with the class so I could assess what the students were saying.  I was amazed at how many students told me they wanted a "strict" teacher under the heading "characteristics your teacher should possess".  You never know what students are going to say, unless you give them a chance to voice themselves.

This was hands down one of the best first day activities I have ever used!  The students were shocked that I wanted their feedback and they enjoyed reflecting on what they would write on the post-it.  They also loved that they could comment anonymously.

If you would like to try this activity with your class you can download the NEW, updated version by clicking on the image at the top of this post.  You can also find the new updated version in my TpT store. 

Let's share some great BTS ideas.  Please leave a comment telling what your FAVOURITE first day of school activity is...

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