What will you do to build relationships in the first week of school?

A few weeks before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, Principal Stephanie Bruggers asked staff members to respond to the following question:

What will you do to build relationships in the first week of school?

Here is what teachers and staff said:

Learn students names and one thing they like to do outside of school.

I will ask students how they see this year going for them? What do they want for themselves from their education and teachers? I believe that if students take responsibility for what it is that they want to achieve, they will work harder to make those goals possible. I will also be asking students to work on making at least one new acquaintance a week. Just push yourself to include more people into your circle. You never know what you can gain by reaching past your comfort zone.

Meet students at the classroom door, do introductions of students and staff. Help anyone who needs assistance finding correct classroom/office/nurse. Meet/call families of new caseload students. Greet returning students and check in with them. SMILE!

I always try to get to know my students as soon as possible. I shake their hands at the beginning of each class, and I encourage them to make up a unique handshake. I learn their handshakes as I learn how each of my students is unique.

Meet students and staff at the front doors as they arrive.

Say hello and introduce myself to as many people as possible.

Call people by names.

Be available to help students, staff, and families get what they need to be successful

SMILE!

Celebrate successes of staff and students

Let students and staff know I don’t know everything…still learning

Create opportunities for people to be engaged in meaningful work and have fun while doing it (workshop week)

Inspire teachers to be a champion for ALL of our students.

Thanks for the question – I have been thinking a lot about this..
I am going to spend the first 2 days letting the students get to know each other. I always do an ice breaker on the first day, but I’m going to use the second day for the students to play games and other activities that will hopefully help them get to know each other and give me a chance to informally talk with all of them and get to know them before we jump into curriculum. I also am going to be more intentional with journaling. I am going to have them do journal entries, about once a week, that will help me get to know them and allow me to respond to what they write.

The students and I learn about our unique personality types and each student creates a reflective visual work of art – expressing themselves through the lens of their personality type.

Basically, hear their stories & share some of mine. Various partner & small group activities to help foster a positive learning environment. Learn their names ASAP. Help them all to feel welcome (not just the students in my classes). SMILE!

Interesting question and I’ve put a lot of thought into this upcoming year. I’ve been quite emotional the last few weeks concerning how the current political climate will impact my classroom climate for the upcoming year. This year I plan to be more deliberate about students having a voice in classroom norms and expectations. I want them to feel that they have created a safe learning space, not me. And I think much of this comes from open conversations. I’ll be doing this on top of what I normally do to get to know students during the first couple weeks (which is a notecard activity and one-on-one conferences).

I am NOT going to list rules and bore them to tears on the first day. (They can read a syllabus and ask questions about it any time.) I will do an interactive team activity that allows them to get to know each other and to get to know me. I also intersperse silly cultural trivia that makes them laugh. (EX: What was the song of the summer 2017? Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee – Justin Bieber too – but he came late to the party.) This also gives them a chance to dust off their Spanish in a non-threatening way.

Smile, greet students by name, and show a little extra kindness!

I’m planning on doing a lot of non biology, low stress team building games (like quick riddles/strategy games/etc).

With students – learn their names the first week. I think that’s very important because it feels good when people know who you are – it shows you matter. I also have students write me a letter about who they are – what matters to them, how I can help them, etc. I also share things about me with the class because relationships have to be two-sided. They get to write a notecard with details about themselves that I share with the class and have them include at least 1 question about me that I will answer in front of the class at the end of the hour for the first few weeks.

I work hard to be as authentic as possible and build a high level of trust with all of my students. I want students to feel that I am an advocate for them and want them to be successful in my class and outside of my class. If I can make an early investment in all of my students early, I will have built the foundation for later in the semester when difficult conversations may be necessary.

I am using a tool that (a colleague) and I tweaked in our summer writing work this summer. It is How are you Smart? Our plan is then to use this information for grouping students, whether we need them like minded or if we need a mix of thinking perspectives. We are planning on using it when our students are doing the independent learning units.

I am planning on using the questions from the Innocent Classroom class with about 5-7 students each day, so within a week each student will have had a chance to share with the class.

I’ve always held orientation meetings for all of my Hybrid AP Micro and Hybrid AP Psych students and parents. This year, I sent out a reminder email to make sure ALL of the currently enrolled students and parents are planning to be there. That sparked a lot of emails back from both students and parents and gave me the chance to touch base with many of them personally before school even started. Hoping that will help us get off to a good start.

Assigned seating chart so that no one feels like they don’t have a place… then the group needs to figure out what they have in common with each other (usually i pick birth months) and then mixing up almost daily to class community

Science groupies – finding group selfies of different science-y things that I give out.

Learning each student’s name – the power of which is often overlooked

I work hard to be as authentic as possible and build a high level of trust with all of my students. I want students to feel that I am an advocate for them and want them to be successful in my class and outside of my class. If I can make an early investment in all of my students early, I will have built the foundation for later in the semester when difficult conversations may be necessary.


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