Friday, August 7, 2009

Back to School Teacher Swap

A favorite blogger of mine and fellow teacher Jen from Following the Footsteps is hosting a Back to School Teacher Swap. It's a great way for teachers to share ideas that they have used in their classroom and offer tips for a great school year. Today I'm going to share two ideas I've used in the past to get to know one another in the classroom.

Vision Boards

Last year during one of our teacher inservice days we worked on creating our very own vision board. A vision board is a poster that you collage with various images and text that portray who you want to become, what you would like to achieve, and your desires. We learned so much from one another while working on that activity that I decided it would be so powerful for my 5th graders to try this too. At meet the teacher I had my vision board on display for them to see. I then sent them home with the instructions for creating their own. Here is what a lesson might look like:

1. DISCUSS the difference between a wish and a goal. It's important to not discourage their dreams and get them to understand that it's ok to set goals even though we may not know how they will manifest. Here are some tips I found online:

Goal Setting Tips
•Be specific
•Do not limit your goals because you are unsure how they will manifest
•Always write the goal in the present tense
•Write goals for you - not others
•Revisit the vision board

2. BRAINSTORM - Each student should brainstorm a list of their personal goals. They should be able to do so using only a few words. For example: "My goal is all A's. " It may helpful here to provide them with some headings like friends, family, school and sports.

3. After they have created their list of goals, students should search through magazines to find images and text that represent their goals. I did give my students the option of drawing their own images, writing their own text, or creating something on the computer. As they are working keep reminding them that their pictures don't have to be in any particular order. It's ok to overlap them and that this is THEIR board and should represent them, not their friends.

4. Once all vision boards were completed, I had some moms come in and mount them on black construction paper and then laminate them. They looked AWESOME and the kids were so proud of them. We spread them out throughout our classroom and then had our own gallery walk. It was exciting to hear them say "Wow, I have that on mine too!" or "I didn't know you were such a good artist." Our vision boards stayed up all year and during the last week of school I passed them back out to them. We talked about how many of the goals we had set at the beginning of the year we had accomplished and how far we had come. I know a lot of those boards are now hanging up in their bedrooms.

Brown Bag It

Another activity that I have used in the past to get to know one another is Brown Bag It. At Meet the Teacher each student is given a brown bag (lunch bag size) to take home and fill with 7 things that represent who they are. On the first day of school they each show up with their brown bags and share with the class. I bring my own too and usually start the sharing session. This activity is a great way to learn about interests and hobbies.

Enjoy! Can't wait to read all the other great ideas!



Thanks Jen for sharing these ideas!! I LOVE the vision board idea! I love how they were able review it at the end of the year to see if they accomplished any of their goals! SO neat! I also like the idea of gallery walk!! So fun!!

I've seen teachers do the Brown bag idea but have never done it myself! What a great way to get to know everyone and a way for the class to share about themselves!!

Thanks again for participating in today's teacher swap!


What great ideas! Love it!!

Quotes from the Queen

These are such fabulous ideas! Thank you so much for sharing! I also have used the getting to know you bag idea during the first week of school. I particpated with my students, which was definitely an ice breaker and helped us learn about one another!

Laura Trevey

Have a Bright, Bold, and Beautiful weekend ~~


OMG I love the both ideas. How awesome is the brown bag idea? The thought of them being able to bring in items that are important to them and then get to share them would be very appealing to them. And not to mention it takes up a lot of time. Thanks for the ideas!

Bebedores do Gondufo



"Do not limit your goals because you are unsure how they will manifest."

Great advice. We tend to set goals according to how we visualize them manifesting. The "how" part is none of our business. Leave that to the Univervse. Just be clear and definite in formulating your desires to get the creative process moving.