Why I'm Starting This School Year with a Get-to-Know-You Curation Project...and You Should Too!

Monday, July 17, 2017 / 18 comments
Why I'm Starting This School Year with a Get-to-Know-You Curation Project and You Should Too!


Ah, Back to School activities. Those wonderful ice-breakers, games, questionnaires, and activities we use to try to make the first week of school tolerable as we introduce our new students to the expectations and procedures of our classroom. Yeah...I hate them.

My students are always surprised when I tell them about my secret (well, not so secret now) loathing of ice-breaker games. I'm a talkative, friendly person, but the moment you tell me to come up with two truths and a lie about myself I start to feel queasy and wonder if I could sneak off and hide in the restroom while everyone else "circulates and finds another person who has traveled to another state recently."

Why I'm Starting This School Year with a Get-to-Know-You Curation Project and You Should Too!
Why yes, I would love to create a "personalized license plate" that personifies me and then explain it to everyone 
in my group. That sounds awesome! I'm just going to run to the bathroom super quick...don't wait for me!


Don't get me wrong. It's crucial to get to know our students. That first week is vital for building classroom community, for establishing the tone your classroom will have for the year, and for making sure students know that they're in a safe place to make mistakes, grow, laugh, and learn. 

That's what makes it so damn difficult! 

I know full well that every other teacher they have will be doing similar, if not the same, things this week. How am I supposed to stand out, make them sit up and pay attention, get them excited about entering my room each day with the same old get-to-know-you activities?

Enter CURATION. An awesome idea for all sorts of project-based learning in the classroom (you can read more about that here), but one that I'm planning on using to get my students to introduce themselves to me (and each other!) in a way I bet they haven't seen before!

Why I'm Starting This School Year with a Get-to-Know-You Curation Project and You Should Too!
Yep...I'm that excited about this idea...

Curation is the process of collecting a bunch of high-quality materials all related to a similar theme, topic, or idea. The curator of a museum might curate a collection of artifacts from ancient Greece, a librarian might curate a group of the latest and best young adult novels for a start of the school year display in the library, and so on. And using the free, online tool elink, I'm going to have my students curate a collection of photos, links, videos, songs, and whatever else they can think of, that will teach me and their classmates all about them!

Here's a screenshot of the collection I've started for myself. I'm going to share it with my students so they can learn a bit more about me as well.

Why I'm Starting This School Year with a Get-to-Know-You Curation Project and You Should Too!


The two items you can see in the screenshot are things I want to share with my students. One is an article about "stunning viewpoints" on the Appalachian Trail. elink then gives you the option of writing a note underneath each item you've collected. I've written "I love to hike. Someday I hope to hike the entire Appalachian Trail." The other is a collection of funny teacher memes. Below it I tell the students that I love memes and that these made me laugh. So right away, I will have shared a little bit more about me with my students than I might have if I used a different type of activity.

Here's my plan. During my first few days of class, I'm going to have my students curate a board all about them. Then, we'll do a carousel activity where we move from one desk to another, taking the time to look through each other's boards. Each person will have a sheet at their desk where their classmates can leave them positive notes (things they liked, thought were interesting, have in common, etc.).

By the time the carousel is complete, all the students will have gotten a few minutes to get a much more personal introduction to their classmates than any activity I could have come up with, and each student will have a bunch of positive comments about their board to start off the year! I will have gotten to know each student more deeply than any questionnaire could have told me and I will have gotten my students using a new technology tool right away. So many wins!

 tv reaction reactions win winning GIF
I may not like ice-breakers...but I can get nerdy teacher excited about Back to School with the best of them!


I'm (obviously) crazy, excited about this idea - so come back in September for an update post on how it went. And if you think you might want to try this idea out yourself, check out my screencast below for step-by-step instructions on how to do it!
video


Have an awesome Back-to-School Week, everyone, no matter what get-to-know-you activities you use!



P.S.  A huge thank you and shout-out to Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy for her awesome Jumpstart: A Technology Course for Thoughtful Educators where I learned about curation and screencasting and SO.MUCH.MORE! If you have the ability to take this course at some point in your career I highly recommend it! 

18 comments:

  1. Awesome idea! I'm going to "steal" it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it! Stop back and let me know how it goes! :) Meghan

      Delete
  2. Love the enthusiasm and the gifs in the post! Sounds like you'll have a great start to the year with this! I'm in your Jumpstart course too and saw your post about this in the Facebook group. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmm...do you have your flash player updated? If not, you can watch the screencast here: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cbifYVlI7g

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm viewing this post on an iPad which explains it !

      Delete
  4. This is awesome! I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've done this before but not with technology. And I've had the students present them to the class, giving them an opportunity to practice presentations using the subject that they know more about than anyone else -- themselves. I might add the technology twist this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How would you do it w/o tech? I'M interested for a class that doesn't have comps

      Delete
  6. Do you have a copy of the carousel feedback sheet for the students?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this!!! Would love to borrow your screencast instructions!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You should be able to access the screencast instructions here: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cbifYVlI7g

    Let me know if that doesn't work! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for this post! I'm curating a list of things to do in the first week of school and this is definitely going to happen in my classroom. For the past few years I've done a flag project in which my students have created a personal flag with at least 5 symbols that represent some aspect of who they are. However, I've been looking for ways to incorporate technology into the project and take it a little deeper. I really like how this idea accomplishes that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing it. We are starting a 1:1 iPad program this year and I think this will be a great way to have my students jump right in! I'm glad that I saw this now so that I have time to make my own screencast before the school year starts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this idea! What platform did you use for this? We are a 1:1 chromebook school- I'm wondering how it would work using Google Slides?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Absolutely love this! I am going to use it to tie in with ESPN's 6 Things About... lesson.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think this is a great idea! I have put this on my list of back-to-school ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top