Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hoping it might leave them hungry.

The first of school with students.

There are so so many good things.

Meeting kids for the first time and immersing them in my crazy.

Seeing the freshmen wander, lost, through the hallways.

Helping kids use their Chromebooks, many for the first time.

Watching them struggle to be on their best behavior.

Reuniting with colleagues after the summer.

Reconnecting with students from previous years, who, for whatever reason, still seem to need me.

I could probably find a post about each of those things...

If I had a week to think about it and no classes to teach.

But the best thing today was reading the exit slips from our first class.
The first day was all about introductions.

We played two truths and a lie.

Every year, I use it as an excuse to tell stories about myself and as a way to gauge how comfortable students are working in groups.

This year, we also logged onto Google Classroom and students were able to access an electronic copy of the syllabus.

Every year, I write them a letter about myself and I ask them to write me a letter (an idea I stole from a colleague who is now my department chair).

The Chromebooks open up new possibilities.

So, I decided to try something a little different.

I still wrote a letter, but I littered it with links.

There are pictures of my family, my boyfriend, my cat.

The home page of the schools I have earned degrees from are linked.

The coolest one, I think, is the map I linked to the word "traveling."

My boyfriend has been adding to a Google map of places we have visited on vacations for years.

I copied it and added all the other places I have lived or visited throughout my life.

By chance, it was the example link I clicked on in a couple of classes.

At the end of class, I asked students to respond to two questions:

What did you learn about this class today? and What do you still want to know?

The responses were adorable.

Some said they learned I am a high school drop out or there is more than one path to success.

Some wrote about my love of travel.

A few stated they got to know me.

Several mentioned learning I don't like to write creative stories.

There were a number of "this class will be fun" or "cool" or, and this is my favorite, "not as bad as I thought."

A handful grumbled about having homework on the first day.

But the thing that really made me smile:

Over and over and over again, kids said what they wanted to know was what we were going to learn, what we were going to do, what this class was about.

I was careful not to mention the actual content of the course throughout the day, hoping it might leave them hungry.

I think it worked.

Those comments mean they want to know more. They are thinking about my class, wondering what will happen.

Those comments mean I have at least started to make them care.

I can't imagine a better first day thing.

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