Around this time of year, as some are heading back to school and others are still in summer mode, there is a lot of information being shared about starting the year off right and the key is to build relationships with your students…take time get to know them so you can make a difference in their lives. It reminds me of one of my favorite TED Talks by Rita Pierson. But I am reminded that you can’t get to know every aspect of them in the first few days or weeks…you need to continue to build relationships ALL YEAR LONG.
In the past few years I have tried to build in more getting to know you questions for my students to answer at the beginning of the year on Name Tents (Idea from Rachel Rosales) and made popular by Sara Vanderverf. But after those first two weeks of prompts and questions, they would just disappear. I added some fun questions on assessments and a reflection on my weekly warm-up, but I still feel the need to build more connections with my students.
I will also do Numbers about Me (a la @msrubinteach), Me…by the Numbers (a la @mathcoachcorner) or Mathematical Autobiography (a la @mathequalslove) that I read & respond to and then it stays in their skill folders.
On my weekly warm-up, I had a Weekly Reflection and asked students to tell me one good thing about the week. I would collect those warm-up sheets each week and respond to their reflections and one good thing. It was one of my favorite ways to get to know my students and continue throughout the year. But collecting the paper and responding among all the other things got daunting. When we went 1:1 I wanted to try using google classroom or google forms for warm-ups, but couldn’t really figure out the weekly reflection piece where I could also respond to them to create dialogue. Elissa who blogs at Miss Calculate found a way using google classroom and I am going to give it a go this year. She started the first week of school and then updated the prompts every weekend. She numbered the weeks and asked two questions each week, one more silly and one more serious; usually only asking for an explanation on one of them. Around certain holidays she asked holiday specific questions or at the end of the quarter she asked more reflective questions.
I am going to open it to student contributions of prompts & questions, BUT I also felt the need to plan out my questions for the year in case they didn’t contribute or they weren’t appropriate. So below you will see my quarterly planning document that I usually print and use to plan my units and see how they fall around holidays and weekends. I decided I needed a visual of what questions I am asking each week and a way to remind myself to ask reflective questions around the end of the quarter and holidays and such, so I decided to use this document electronically. Obviously the listed days off are specific to my school calendar, so you can ignore those, but I planned to ask two questions each week regardless of how many days we were in school that week. I am hoping by planning them out, I will be more intentional with posting and responding to them. And I hope my students hold me accountable!
My plan is to post the prompts on Sunday, students need to respond by Friday and I respond to their thoughts Friday & Saturday (& Sunday if needed).
I will still continue adding fun prompts to assessments too (and probably start a document for that as well), but I think this weekly wrap-up will be a needed connection with students and I hope we will all find it beneficial.
Here are my prompts for the first two weeks of Name Tents (we have 8 days during this time). These aren’t quite finalized, but this is where I am with them right now.
Day 1 – I notice…I wonder…
Day 2 – What was your favorite thing about 6th grade?
Day 3 – How do you feel when you try to solve a problem you haven’t seen before?
Day 4 – Ask me a question.
Day 5 – If you were an emoji, which one would you be?
Day 6 – One thing I wish Ms. Bogie knew about me is…
Day 7 – What is something you feel strongly about?
Day 8 – What is something you are proud of?
Weekly Wrap-up Prompts (as a google doc, make a copy and enjoy!)
What do you do throughout the year to build relationships with your students?
This August, I’m participating in a monthly blog challenge called Blaugust. To see the list of participating blogs, click on the logo below. Please cheer on our participants with either a tweet or a comment on their blog. It can be hard to blog on a daily (or even regular) schedule! 🙂
If you want to join in the blogging fun, it’s not too late! Go HERE to sign up! 🙂 Included are some “directions” and some awesome helpful prompts if you need something to help you blog!