School Year Starters and Management Ideas

I plan to spend the next few weeks of my “staycation” cataloging ideas and techniques I have started using or have used in the past, for the purpose of growing community and managing behavior in my classroom. I am hoping to share this with others who may find these ideas useful, or who would like to comment and share their own in response. Enjoy!

IDEA #1- At the start of the school year, or even the first day of summer school, I tailor some questions for students to journal in their notebooks, that they can answer in short responses. It’s like a top 10 list, with a twist: They then have a few minutes to stand up, do a walk around the room while I say “mingle, mingle, mingle, STOP” and ask the person(s) next to them if they can match one of their top 10 answers to the same questions. They then write in the person’s name next to their response. We repeat the process of mingle and match up to 10 times. Great way for them to share, write, and meet new people. Works for almost any grade level. I’m pretty sure that something like this is done in classrooms everywhere, but I have adapted it and tweaked it over the years to suit the classroom age range and typical interests. Kids seem to like this ice-breaker the most.

IDEA #2- Another thing I do to cut down on student “Ooo-ooo!” hands during learning response, is to throw a brain around…not a real one (obviously), but a rubber one I picked up one Halloween. I started using this in conjunction with opportunity sticks during summer school this year. The students liked the brain a lot. They always had something to say, and loved passing it to the next student. I plan on keeping this around into the school year, as it can be adapted for small group use as well…students can pass the brain around, talking-stick style, and share out individually. Fun stuff!

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