(I really wanted to put a link to every person mentioned in this post because that would be cool but that would take so much time, which is not cool. The end)
Friday! Week One accomplished!
Today was another good day. It's going to be hard to adjust to a regular schedule after having a 2:15 schedule all week. But, now all my classes will be 50 minutes instead of some 50, some 30.
In my 50 minute classes I started by asking students to name 3 uses for a paperclip (idea credited to @paulbogush) other than holding papers together. This stumped the majority of them for awhile but eventually they started to think of ideas (or copy off of others). Answers were closing a bag of chips, picking a lock, stabbing someone, a toy sword, cleaning under your fingernails, piercing your lip, earrings, bracelet, necklace, belt, a popper thing to shoot at people, and to launch rubber bands.
After testing their creativity, I transitioned into the creative activity. Students had to make a thank you card for a teacher. It could also be to a janitor, cafeteria lady, secretary, teacher's aide, or coach. They could deliver it themselves or I would put in their mailboxes. For the most part, it turned out really well. Some kids couldn't think of anyone or anything to say and I had two students who just wouldn't do it. I didn't take a grade so what could I do? Not sure how to deal with that.
But others went right to work and even wrote paragraphs. And I did get a few cards too. =) I delivered them on my plan period and allowed some of the kids to deliver at the end of class. I had at least 3 teachers come and tell me thank you and that they appreciated the cards. It even made one teacher's heart smile (I love that phrase).
This was my personal favorite:
It reads: "Thank you for making this class as fun as you already have at the beginning of the year. I'm looking forward to the rest of this year."
This from a 16 year old freshman.
In addition, I had my students make "Help Me" signs. This went over so well. So pleased. Students had to create a sign that had some sort of confused face, question mark, hand raised, help wanted, or questioning, thing on it. The rationale behind it is that if I am teaching, a student can just throw their sign up, letting me know they aren't understanding. I hope to prevent anyone from feeling embarrassed or stupid for not understanding right away. Also, I think it will be really fun! The students got really creative with this. Everything from drawing their own, to cartoons, rappers, dirt bike riders, etc.
Let me show you.
Clockwise from top left: Lil Wayne looking puzzled, The Thinker pondering, Tennessee Volunteers basketball player Josh Tabb, both raising a hand up, and 2009 dirt bike champion James Stewart.
Clockwise from top: Handmade, graffiti skull asking 'What?', classic Wile E. Coyote help sign, and a handmade graffiti style 'Help Me' (or 'Help Ice' as some students said).
Clockwise from top left: Handmade with double sticks, Huey from The Boondocks asking for Hizzelp, a question mark made out of fireworks, and of course Stewie from Family Guy is frustrated and wants help.
Clockwise from top: rapper T.I. with a hand up, Gucci Mane making the 'ok' sign, Chris Brown looking troubled, and who else but Barney.
Don't you love it? It was a lot of fun.
The thank you cards were mainly to help promote a positive atmosphere between teachers and students as well as it was fun and needed to encourage teachers.
The help sign was my own brain child to help promote a positive atmosphere between the class as a whole. I hope that this combined with the earlier index-card-asking-questions-activity will help students realize that they can ask questions and receive help without feeling stupid or embarrassed.