Session 60: Practical Ideas for getting to know your new class

Session Title:

Practical Ideas for getting to know your new class

Session Summary:
[pullquote]If you want to know your new class, look at their previous test scores. Then tear them up and give each pupil a fresh start” @deerwood[/pullquote]

In the lead up to the new school year, I hoped to run a really practical session full of ideas for getting to know your new class.  The main aim was to share as many practical ideas as possible, and I think it’s fair to say that it didn’t disappoint.

Some of the notable ideas shared included

  • Having an open doors policy
  • Each student to come up with 3 keywords for the year
  • A Tetris style seating plan!
  • Using a South Park avatar creator
  • Get pupils to share their favourite tune
  • Have pupils develop collaborative presentations / Prezis
  • Class Top Trumps

(A big thank you to Paul Collins who took the time to expand on all of the ideas on his blog)

Then, of course, there was the row about rows.  It started off innocently enough, with some people feeling that rows were not inductive to learning, nor to getting to know the pupils, whilst others felt that they improved behaviour management and therefore facilitated learning.  Tempers and humours ran high and I ended up having to threaten the perpetrators with detention…

It was great to see some new faces last night and it was a real pleasure to see so many outstanding ideas shared.

Notable Tweets from the session:

@PivotalEllie: Get students to write down 20 questions for each other in pairs and then join up with another pair. Teacher stands and listens

@ConsultantHead: I like to make little top trump type cards with their photo on and use them to learn their names

@PhilWheeler1: Get a competition going boys v girls about what they can find out about each other with yes no answers only

@EmTeaches: Getting kids to play ‘Call My Bluff’ about themselves is good fun and helps me get to know them and their personalities

@Tim1768: Games, like getting them to try to line up in alphabetical order, oldest to youngest, height order

@benwhite25: always keep records of early lesson findings about pupils, never know when they could be useful for teaching / pastoral care

@deerwood: look at their Facebook page

@jackieschneider: I used to write a letter to class about me & put in env 4 kids to take home. Most times at least half class write back unprompted

@victoriaellis: I’ve had tutor groups on first day write their end of year report – interesting reading a year later!

@futurebehaviour: Learn names quickly – using it and knowing them really makes a diff to relationships & helps with behaviour

@SheliBB: I’m going to try a ‘feelings’ thermometer this year to help children identify their own feelings and understand related actions

@richard_james: as a HoY I often set at Yr7 where will you be in Yr 11 ambitions etc -job etc – then at Yr11 give it them back

@jackieschneider: – nothing like a class sing song to create bonds & positive feelings. See @SingUpTweets 4 ideas

@EmTeaches: Present your autobiography (so far!) through photographs and ask chn to do the same complete with ambitions

@bellaale: Feeling v energized that we are talking about getting to know PEOPLE on the day when its been a massive stat-gasm..

@bellaale: Be open about *yourself*… (within reason!)

@SheliBB: ask children what they should expect from you as teacher, then what they will do in return.refer to throughout the yr

@TeamTait: Positive Friday Phone Calls. It’s amazing how well kids respond if they know you’ll phone home just before the weekend!

@bootleian: Baby photos – guess who with a prize for the one with most correct

@PhilWheeler1: class speed dating or speed info finding.

@NickiA10: use a snowballing effect, find a child to learn something about, then find another pair to share with then another.

@bellaale: Get kids to make presos about selves: films, Powerpoints, whatever they want


Tweet of the week:


@deerwood: If you want to know your new class, look at their previous test scores.  Then tear them up and give each pupil a fresh start


Highlighted links:

Microsoft Partners in Learning UK Forum Winners 2010

The Ice Breaker……

‘You’ve got mail’ idea explained

Trust games to play with students

New class ideas from TES Connect

Bingo game designed to help people get to know one another (face to face and online)

Colour Coding to help you get to know your pupils!

Ice Breaker suggestions

Validate – it’s great!

How to remember pupils’ names


About your host:

This session was hosted by @creativeedu who most of you already know as the author of the Creative Education Blog.  I’m the managing director for the training arm of Creative Education who provide CPD for teachers.

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