Building relationships is king in my teaching philosophy. It trumps content every day of the week. If a student doesn’t trust you, it is very hard for them to learn (what you want them to learn) from your class.
That is why when we come back from break, whether a class is semester-long with all new students, or year-long with returning students, I like to focus on building new relationships or strengthening existing ones.
Yesterday was a cold day. In other words, we got the day off because it was so cold–so like a snow day, without snow, and probably colder than the average snow day. I spent the day catching up on housework (ugh) and reading articles that people from my PLN posted (yay!). One of the things I stumbled upon was this NPR article: These Are A Few Of Your Favorite Things. After I read it, I knew that I wanted to do this as an opening activity with all of my students. Good thing school was called off yesterday or this might not have happened.
I’m sharing the article with them today through my Twitter feed. My requirements for the assignment are as follows.
FAVORITE THINGS ASSIGNMENT:
- Read this NPR article: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.
- Choose 5-10 items to photograph.
- Arrange them, artfully. (See the article for examples.)
- Photograph them with your iPad.
- Write a brief description of each item and why you selected it.
- If you want to, tweet a copy of the photo, using our class hashtag: World Lit = #phsWORlit; Contemp Lit = #phsCONlit; Forensics II = #phs4N6; Drama = #phsDRAMA; A.P. English Lit and Comp = #phsAPeng.
- Submit your photo and writing to our shared Google Drive folder.
As usual, I will be participating in this assignment as well. If I am asking my students to expose personal facts about themselves, I must do the same. After all, relationships are for taking, but the giving is the most important part.
When I have completed the assignment, I will post my photo and writing here. If my students give me permission, I will post some of their photos and writing here too. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Here are the results of the assignment:
#phsWORlit #phsCONlit #phsAPeng Favorite Things Assignment–> Desk: One of my favorite places to be is school where so much learning takes place, so I chose a desk as a backdrop. Top Hat and Rabbit Ears: As a drama teacher, I appreciate what a simple bit of costuming can do for an actor or even a non-actor. Modge Podge: In my (very limited spare time) I like to dabble in art–specifically mixed media art and one of my main ingredients is Modge Podge. Hagrid Figurine: I am a Harry Potter nerd. Literature Anthology: Reading books is one of my favorite things to do and I can’t pick just one favorite, so I chose this anthology since it is full of a variety of stories and poetry. Note Card: My Fall Play cast gave this to me in a bouquet of flowers after our show wrapped this year. My students are very important to me. Skull: The image of a skull represents many things to me: theater, the fragility of life, decomposition and a return to the Earth. Pencil: I love to write and sketch with a pencil. Ticonderogas are the best. Photo: These are my three favorite people -> my husband and my two daughters.