Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Year. I have made the first day of school and instant student engagement easy. Connecting Our Hopes and Dreams In A Place That Matters With People Who Care is an amazingly powerful statement. So how do we make this happen for our students on the first couple of days a school?
Starting a new school year has a lot of mixed emotions for students of course. Teachers go through the roller coaster of emotions too. Every year is a brand new start. We have ideas we want to try, a vision of what our classroom or art making space will look like, and a hope for what our students will leave the year with once the walk out our door. Yes, student learning and curriculum is important. Studies have shown that when students have a good relationship with their teacher, feel safe and not afraid to take risks their learning goes through the roof!
Yes, the standardized tests scores… blah blah blah blah blah… I have never had a student come back years after I had them to say, “Mrs. Mullard, I just want to thank you for all of the assessments and rubrics you gave us.” Never has that ever happened and it won’t happen in the future. Kids will remember how you made them feel in your classroom. They will remember what stirred passion with in them. They will remember the relationships that started and were nurtured in your classroom. When you know your kids you can ask them questions. When you ask them questions you will get some answers. When you get some answers, you’ll know what they are learning! Kind of sounds a lot like the “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” books doesn’t it?
Of course there are lots of ways to get to know your students but I like to get a jump on it the first couple of days. I fill out my “Get to know ya” worksheet so students can see it in my room. Yup, I have it displayed for the world to see. Give it your worksheet a personal touch and be a little vulnerable. Seriously, it’s ok!
There is a link later in this post so you can download the worksheet too.
As Art Educators I always feel like we get to see a different side of kids. We get to tap into a creative part of them that not all teachers get to see. Trying to find a student’s passion in an amazing gift to watch. I encourage you to get to know your kids. ALL of your kids. Ask questions, share things about yourself, and be a little vulnerable. Show them you are human.
Remember, the most challenging students are usually the students that need the hug. They need the love. A little more respect. You may be the one and only person in their life that gets to know who they are and see them be human to. Have a great school year friends! Here’s to a successful year with amazing discoveries, new friendships, love, learning and LOTS of laughter! Here’s a resource to help you get to know your students. I use this worksheet the first day or two of class just to get things rolling.
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