Back to School Ideas

I hope everyone’s school year is off to an awesome start.  I am anxious to hear about all the great things you have planned for this year.  I truly believe that the Discovery Educator Network will be a great community in which you can share ideas and strategies, borrow (or steal) resources from each other, and have a lot of fun.  It is my goal to help make sure that these things happen so don’t hesitate to let me know what you need.

So, in the spirit of sharing resources, below is a great idea from one of your DEN colleagues (Martha Perez, Harrisburg City School District).  Hopefully, it will assist you in the first week or two as you try to match all those new names with all those new faces. 

Download gettingtoknow2.ppt

After looking at Martha’s idea, share an activity you use during the first couple weeks of school.

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35 Comments

  1. Susan Keck said:

    We are always looking for ways to build community in our classrooms and help each student understand how significant they are. This is a great idea for developing both this social and personal dimension, which are so important for learning. Thank you for sharing your wonderful idea!

  2. Katie said:

    This is a fantastic idea!!! What a great way to learn more about our students!

  3. Jannita Demian said:

    Martha-
    What a creative example of integrating the different parts of the unitedstreaming resources. I love this idea and will be passing it along to others. Good luck in the new school year!

  4. Dave Mendell said:

    This sounds like a great way to get the kids involved using technology right from the beginnig!

    Here’s what I did…
    When my 3rd graders came in on the first day of school, I had CPS keypads waiting for them on their desks…

    We started off the morning doing a CPS survey. The questions were fun and engaging for the kids and they also gave me valuable information about their overall attitude towards school.

  5. Cheryl said:

    Hey Martha, How are you? Welcome the Harrisburg!!!! Great idea on the getting to know you PPT. Thanks! I will be in touch!!!
    C

  6. Kristin Hokanson said:

    My Back to School Idea
    I also start the year building a classroom community. In 3rd grade we focus on rights and responsibilities to create a classroom bill of rights and a consitution of rules we will follow. We also come up with classroom jobs that will show that we are responsible classroom citizens.
    This year, I used united streaming videos and activities to build background knowlege. First we looked at Citizenship in the Community (video 26144). We used it as a springboard for what our RIGHTS should be within our classroom community, and what rules we would need to follow to ensure those rights were not violated. Having the visual, RIGHT ON HAND from unitedstreaming made the lesson come alive and helped the kids to make connections. I also used video 11012–Responsible Me to focus on the importance of being responsible, doing the responsible thing, taking responsibility and learning to be responsible. The teacher guide had activities that could be used as well. I have already noticed a change in some of the children’s behavior and performance because they had GOOD background when coming up with a class constitution. And they because THEY created it, they have ownership–Thanks United Streaming

    PS GREAT IDEA DAVE–now If I could only get my hands on a CPS –K 🙂

  7. Brian Adams said:

    This year we upgraded from Max’s Sandbox to Scholastic Keys. (Same basic program, newer version with more options.)
    I had students in my third grade classes introduce themselves using Max Write. They used the Word Art feature to write their name. They also added clip art and graphics to tell about their likes and interests. When sharing, the class was able to learn about that student as well as see how creative they got with the technology. It also provided a nice review of some of the software tools we used last year and an easy way to introduce some of the new features.

  8. Amber Lizak said:

    Great Powerpoint Martha, thanks! Here is what I do:
    On the first day of school I have the students’ handhelds sitting on their desks with their keyboards. Since they have never used handhelds before, I explain how to turn them on before entering the room. When they turn them on they are greeted with a short greeting from me and asked to type answers to a few questions about themselves. Once done, I have them find someone they do not know in the class and beam their answers to them. Students then read each other’s answers and start talking about them. I then have each child stand on his or her chair as their new found partner introduces them with the info. from the handheld. It is so neat to see the excitement and conversation that starts in the first hour of the first day of school!

  9. Tom Hatch said:

    I am inspired by the ideas! One of the challenges I face as a secondary teacher (Chemistry, grades 10-12) is that, by the time my students reach me, the diversity of technological competencies is almost overwhelming. Many of my students are more tech-savvy than I am and others can’t find the on button. I resort to a head-on approach. Within the first week, my classes do a lab which requires students to use Excel, Word, and graphics calculators. I find that “diving right in” really helps me identify which students need help, which ones are O.K. on their own, and who among them I can turn to when I need help!

  10. Cindy said:

    Martha thanks for the wonderful PowerPoint on getting to know your students. What a wonderful way to use United Streaming videos! In third grade I have the students create scrapbooks. We add pages thoughout the entire year. At the beginning of the year, we create our cover page. The students type in a title for their scrapbook. Then they add three graphics to their page. After we print the pages on colored cardstock, the students have to share with the class why they chose their graphics.

  11. Cindy said:

    Martha thank you for sharing your powerpoint. It was a great way to use United Streaming in the classroom. In third grade I have my students create scrapbooks using the computers. We continue to add pages throughout the year. At the beginning of the year, we do our cover page. The students type in a title for their cover page. Then they add three graphics that represent something about themselves. After we print the covers onto cardstock, the students share with the class why they chose their grphics.

  12. Terri Soyka said:

    Wow, Marta that is fantastic! I can simplifiy it for my fourth graders and use it as a running presentation on Parent Conference night. The parents can watch it while waiting for their time. I will also pass it on to the Middle School Tech teacher. Thanks for the great idea.

  13. Diahann Ouly said:

    Martha…awesome ideas! I’m sure your students and staff in your new position are truly enjoying your positive personality and innovative ideas. They are lucky to have you! Good luck with your new year!

  14. Diahann Ouly said:

    Dave…so happy to read that you used CPS on the first day of school, with 3rd graders no less!! Great way to find out who each and every one of your students is, as well as getting them “into” the technology right out of the gate! You know my love of CPS 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about the other ways you will use it throughout the year. Keep us posted!

  15. Jennifer Dorman said:

    That is a great idea. It’s such a good way to get to know the students and also infuse history and technology in the classroom.

    I start my school year with the theme of respect. I have my students do a few activities with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We go through the entire hierarchy and look at all the needs that must be in place before we are really ready to engage in academic activity. I draw the analogy between building body muscle and intellectual muscle; in order to build body muscle, one much stretch and exert it to the point of tearing before it can rebuild stronger and more resilient than before. The students draw the connection to intellectual growth by observing that one can only grow cognitively if one stretches and challenges the mind by taking academic risks. Students are only willing to take those academic risks if they feel comfortable and respected in the classroom. That is the reason why respect is second only to safety in determining if the environment is conducive to learning.

    In groups, the students take this information as the impetus to brainstorm what respect “looks like” and “sounds like.” One by one, the groups add their ideas to a class Inspiration web displayed on my SmartBoard. They, then, use the class collaborative web in different groups to write a respect contract for all students and teachers in my classroom. The contract outlines behaviors expectations for both teachers and students.

    The process gives students the opportunity to get to know their peers in a low-stress class activity while modeling appropriate classroom decorum. It also acquaints them with the SmartBoard and engages them with the classroom technology. The focus on respect allows me to communicate my ideals for classroom atmosphere while empowering the students to take ownership for their community of learners.

  16. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  17. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  18. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  19. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  20. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  21. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  22. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  23. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  24. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  25. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  26. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  27. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  28. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  29. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  30. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  31. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  32. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  33. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  34. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

  35. Kelly Fath (Will's and Betsy's Mom) said:

    I believe this is the “learning tool” of the future. This is a great way to teach the generation of our future. I have seen this concept utilized in a college course first hand and as an adult learned so much about things, I learned in elem/high school. Too bad they didn’t have this back then.

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