August is here and our classroom doors will be opening within a couple of weeks, if not a couple of days! I find that I am always as nervous, perhaps even more nervous to meet my new students as they are to meet me. The sooner I get to know each one of my kids, the better and more settled I feel. I always ask for the parents help at the beginning of the year by sending home a “Getting To Know Ya” form. Here, they are able to tell me about their child’s family, strengths and weaknesses, along with any medical diagnosis their child has. It’s here that I often find out about ADHD, Autism, and food allergies. This is also a great way to open the door of communication with parents, especially the ones with student’s who may need more support or accommodations. Here is a site for a similar form that you can use Getting to Know Your Child.
During the first couple of days, I like to learn about the kids’ interests and what they think they are really good at. We talk about how everyone has different “smarts”. Some may be really “smart” when it comes to drawing while others may be really “smart” at riding at two wheel bike. I give them a picture of a person with four thought bubbles around them. The kids can write or draw pictures of their “smarts” and then share them with the class. We always make the connections between the kids who have the same “smarts”. I’ve learned a lot about kiddo’s self-confidence through this activity, sadly, I always have one or two that are convinced they are not “smart” at anything. If you are interested in having the one that I created, please comment with your e-mail address and I’d be happy to send it to you.
Another fun way that we get to know each other is to fill out a “Who Am I” page. The kids draw a self portrait and then give some information about themselves. This activity can vary by grade level. The little ones will say something about what they look like, their favorite color and something they like doing. As they get older they can become more detailed. I share each of the papers in front of the class and together we guess who it may be! They always giggle and have so much fun with this. You can find several different versions of this activity on Pinterest or on Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s. Here is a link to free one that I came across, Who Am I?.
The effort you put into getting to know your students and allowing them to get to know you is so important, I believe it can make or a break a school year. The kids will know right away if you are invested in being their teacher and role model right away. Enjoy meeting your new students!