Dave Burgess shares a fantastic way to engage students while getting to know them in Teach Like A Pirate. As soon as I read it I knew I wanted to try it. I did have some hesitations: Will high school student’s buy in? What will be my expectations? How will I manage the classroom? I second guessed myself as the first days quickly approached and decided to jump in head first and I am so glad I did!
When students arrived and entered the classroom I greeted them at the door, asked them their names and had them place their cell phones in the charging station (our new campus policy) and asked them to find a seat. (Read my “Flexible Seating” post here.) As student’s entered you could see a look of confusion: why is there play-doh on the tables? Can we play with it? This was the best! Once they knew it was okay to touch the play-doh they jumped right in!
Students were asked to answer the question: Who Are You?
Using play-doh, they created models which represented:
- Personality, qualities
- Family info
Anything that represents something about who they are.
As the students were building, I circled the room asking various questions such as:
- What did you do this summer?
- Did you work, travel, move?
- Where did you work?
- What did you do on your vacation?
- Why did you move?
My goal was to learn about the students, begin putting faces with names and model conversationalism since it is such a valuable skill necessary in the real-world. The students really responded and it was amazing to get to know the kids and the top layers of their stories.
I highly recommend this activity to everyone!
Paper plates from the Dollar Store
Students and Teachers Ready to Create Relationships!