And so we begin…another year! I cannot believe it! How many is it for you? For me, I am starting my 17th year in education. I feel blessed to have been in my career this long. I still love it! Every. Single. Day. These first few weeks, especially these first two, are BUSY!
It feels as though I’m running a race. I lay down at night and my mind takes a bit to slow down. My brain is busy, my body is busy, and my heart is full. I love the back-to-school rush; the smells, the smiles, the wonder…but I miss my children. I miss my pool. I miss my bed. I wonder about the year ahead: How will I manage school, home, kids, and work? How will I stay current? How will I help people? How will I make a difference? Do people like me? I am 38 years young, and this is how I feel. Imagine how our students feel!
One of the most valuable goals we can have, right at the beginning, is to get to know our students and families. Relationships are at the heart of what we do. With positive, trusting relationships we have laid a foundation for success. I really love this article here that highlights that concept! What tech tools can help with this? Well, let’s take a look!
Flipgrid is an INCREDIBLE tool to use anytime! It can be especially helpful to get to know our students and families. You could post a prompt before school begins, or in those first few weeks, for students to take video at home to share about themselves. Have them interview a parent, sibling, or guardian even! Ask a student to show off a pet! Imagine how fun it will be to share those videos?
Even better, Flipgrid had some AMAZING new updates with their camera! We will talk about that more in upcoming posts, but check out the blog post below from Matt Miller that highlights many new features!
Pear Deck 🍐
And as we all know, Pear Deck is a personal favorite tool of mine! You can get to know students SO WELL with this amazing (free) tool! Here’s a great deck I plan to use in classrooms this year to assist teachers in getting to know their students. Feel free to use it yourself!
Google Forms 📋
Google Forms are a GREAT way to get to know students and families! What’s even better is Forms will give you an amazing spreadsheet of data to use ALL YEAR! I loved sending home a Form to families and asking about their children. They would tell me all sorts of great information I could refer back to all year. This is great to have set up during open house as well, on Chromebooks around the room. You can check out the video below for a detailed look at how to create a form.
Goose Chase 🦆
Have you played Goose Chase??? Oh my goodness, if you haven’t…you need to try it!! This is such a FUN tool that can really do so much. It is an app and needs a mobile device like a phone, iPad, or Chromebook that supports Google Play. Basically, students have to post items in a scavenger hunt format. You create the questions or the “hunt”, so you could essentially use it to get to know your classroom. In East Bridgewater, we do have a premium account. If you’d like to use it, please reach out!
There is so much out there you can use with students to get to know them. The most important task is that we DO take a moment and do just that, regardless of the tool we use. How will you connect with your students and families this year? Let me know!
Take it easy and take a moment for yourself too! <3