It’s Back to School Time which means new students and new parents. It’s also the time for “Meet the Teacher” events and “Back-to-School Night.” If you’re like me, these two events created a lot of anxiety about having the perfect classroom space to make the best impression. Thinking about trying to create an engaging bulletin board or hallway display in those first few days for parents to peruse just heightened my stress level. If you’ve had similar feelings about this time of the year, I’ve got just the solution for you! I have two fun activities that I’d like to share with you that not only help you learn more about your new group of students but also impress your administrators and parents.
“Me in Numbers”
This activity is one that I have used to create a cover page in students’ math notebooks, but it’s such a fun activity that it makes for a great display for Open House or Back to School Night. It’s also a fun way to show students how they can communicate with numbers and an opportunity for students to get creative and show off their individual style.
I give students a guideline for how to format the page and a list of statements to get them started, but the creativity level is left entirely to them.
As an optional way to present the numbers, you can have students write them in one of the following formats:
* expanded form (Example: 10,000 x 1 + 1,000 x 3 + 100 x 5 + 10 x 6 + 1 x 8 days on Earth.)
* expanded notation (Example: I traveled 1000 + 200 + 70 + 8 miles to the beach this summer.)
* mathematical expressions (Example: My birthday is on the (75 + 30)th day of the year.)
Meet the SuperKids
A few years back, I looped with my fourth-grade class up to fifth grade and wanted a really unique theme for the year. Since my students had made such huge gains during the previous year, I decided to call them SuperKids to encourage them to take their attitude, behavior, and achievement to the next level. In an effort to kick off the school year with the theme, I asked them to create their own SuperKid character.
I adapted this idea from another one I sometimes use at the start of the school year. I start by reading The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. The book contains a bunch of poems about different things in our world. It’s pretty simple and written for a younger audience, but I just use it as a model. We then discuss the format the author uses to create each poem.
It generally goes, “The important thing about ___________ is that it is__________.” Then it gives more details about the object. It concludes with, “But, the important thing about ___________ is that it is__________ (repeated from the first line).” I ask the students to create a poem in this format about their talents. For the Superkid edition, I asked them to say, “The important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a super ___________.” They then give some details about their super persona. They end with, “But, the important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a super ___________(repeated from the first line).”
Now for the fun part, I ask the students to create a model of a super kid using construction paper. This is always an interesting task because some of the students really struggle to make their person proportional. Sometimes, the torso is big and both the arms and legs are small. It’s quite comical at times! For the Superkid edition, I asked the students to create a Superkid. Basically, this meant that their person should look a little more superhero-like than human-like. As an example, I made one for myself too. I called her SuperTeacher.
This turned out to be such an awesome activity! It really gave me a glimpse of what my students were most passionate about! I learned a lot about my students from this activity and I’d already been acquainted with these kids for an entire school year!
To finish, I post all of the student posters in the hallway with a sign that says “Meet the Superkids.” It’s a great display for the start of the year and for Open House.
Sound Off! What are your favorite Open House or Back-to-School Night products for your hallway or classroom display?