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Have students bring in small pictures of themselves to paste next to their entries in the Student Dictionary. Bind the definitions into a book, and display it at back-to-school night. Ask each student to write a brief description of his or her physical characteristics on one index card and his or her name on the other. Physical characteristics usually do not include clothing, but if you teach the primary grades, you might allow students to include clothing in their descriptions.

Put all the physical characteristic index cards in a shoe box, mix them up, and distribute one card to each student, making sure that no student gets his or her own card. Give students ten minutes to search for the person who fits the description on the card they hold. There is no talking during this activity, but students can walk around the room.

At the end of the activity, tell students to write on the card the name of the student who best matches the description.

Then have students share their results. How many students guessed correctly? Patricia McHugh, John W. Set up a circle of chairs with one less chair than the number of students in the class.

Play music as the students circle around the chairs. When the music stops, the students must sit in a seat. Unlike the traditional game, the person without a seat is not out. Instead, someone must make room for that person.

Then remove another seat and start the music again. You can play this game outside, and you can end it whenever you wish. Afterward, stress the teamwork and cooperation the game took, and how students needed to accept one another to be successful. Reinforce that idea by repeating this game throughout the year. Danielle Weston, Willard School, Sanford, Maine Hands-On Activity Have students begin this activity by listing at least 25 words that describe them and the things they like.

No sentences allowed, just words! Then ask each student to use a dark pen to trace the pattern of his or her hand with the fingers spread apart. Provide another sheet of paper that the student can place on top of the tracing. Because the tracing was done with a dark pen, the outline should be visible on the sheet below. Direct students to use the outlines as guides and to write their words around it. Provide students a variety of different colored pencils or markers to use as they write.

Then invite students to share their work with the class. They might cut out the hand outlines and mount them on construction paper so you can display the hands for open house. Then provide each student with five different-colored paper strips. Have each student write a different talent on separate paper strips, then create a mini paper chain with the strips by linking the five talents together. As students complete their mini chains, use extra strips of paper to link the mini chains together to create one long class chain.

Have students stand and hold the growing chain as you link the pieces together. Once the entire chain is constructed and linked, lead a discussion about what the chain demonstrates -- for example, all the students have talents; all the students have things they do well; together, the students have many talents; if they work together, classmates can accomplish anything; the class is stronger when students work together than when individual students work on their own.

Hang the chain in the room as a constant reminder to students of the talents they possess and the benefits of teamwork. Your school librarian might have a discard pile you can draw from. Invite students to search through the magazines for pictures, words, or anything else that might be used to describe them. Have students cut out their silhouettes, then fill them with a collage of pictures and words that express their identity. Then give each student an opportunity to share his or her silhouette with the group and talk about why he or she chose some of the elements in the collage.

Post the silhouettes to create a sense of "our homeroom. You can use such cards to gather other information too, such as school schedule, why the student signed up for the class, whether the student has a part-time job, and whether he or she has access to the Internet at home. As a final bit of information, ask the student to write a headline that best describes him or her! This headline might be a quote, a familiar expression, or anything else. When students finish filling out the cards, give a little quiz.

Then read aloud the headlines one at a time. Ask students to write the name of the person they think each headline best describes. Who got the highest score? It seems as if parents are contacted only if there is a problem with students. At the end of each grading period, use the home address information to send a postcard to a handful of parents to inform them about how well their child is doing.

This might take a little time, but it is greatly appreciated! Pop Quiz Ahead of time, write a series of getting-to-know-you questions on slips of paper -- one question to a slip.

You can repeat some of the questions. Then fold up the slips, and tuck each slip inside a different balloon. Blow up the balloons. Give each student a balloon, and let students take turns popping their balloons and answering the questions inside. Contributor Unknown Fact or Fib? Tell students that you are going to share some information about yourself. Suggest that students take notes; as you speak, they should record what they think are the most important facts you share.

When you finish your presentation, tell students that you are going to tell five things about yourself. Four of your statements should tell things that are true and that were part of your presentation; one of the five statements is a total fib. This activity is most fun if some of the true facts are some of the most surprising things about you and if the "fib" sounds like something that could very well be true. Tell students they may refer to their notes to tell which statement is the fib.

Next, invite each student to create a biography and a list of five statements -- four facts and one fib -- about himself or herself. Mitzi Geffen Circular Fact or Fib? Organize students into two groups of equal size. One group forms a circle equally spaced around the perimeter of the classroom.

There will be quite a bit of space between students. The other group of students forms a circle inside the first circle; each student faces one of the students in the first group. Give the facing pairs of students two minutes to share their second oral "biographies.

After each pair completes the activity, the students on the inside circle move clockwise to face the next student in the outer circle. Students in the outer circle remain stationary throughout the activity.

When all students have had an opportunity to share their biographies with one another, ask students to take turns each sharing facts and fibs with the class. The other students refer to their notes or try to recall which fact is really a fib.

Contributor Unknown People Poems Have each child use the letters in his or her name to create an acrostic poem. Tell students they must include words that tell something about themselves -- for example, something they like to do or a personality or physical trait. Invite students to share their poems with the class.

This activity is a fun one that enables you to learn how your students view themselves. Allow older students to use a dictionary or thesaurus. Bill Laubenberg Another Poetic Introduction. Ask students to use the form below to create poems that describe them. This activity lends itself to being done at the beginning of the school year and again at the end of the year. You and your students will have fun comparing their responses and seeing how the students and the responses have changed.

Contributor Unknown Food for Thought To get to know students and to help them get to know one another, have each student state his or her name and a favorite food that begins with the same first letter as the name. At the end of Rev. If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me.

If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me. When placed on the two sides of the scale, the viewer can see the heavier weight of the second sentence of the quote, demonstrating the heavier weight of its meaning.

A truly beautiful metaphor. This primary art teacher does a class monster-drawing activity with her students regularly, in which each student receives a piece of paper folded into thirds. The student draws the head of a monster on the first third, then passes it to a second student. The second student draws the body of a monster on the second third without seeing the head drawn by the first student!

See where this is going? The third student draws the legs, then everyone opens the folded paper to see the hilarious mixed-up monsters at the end. In the picture, you can see the acrylic, heavy cardstock, and MDF trial cuts she ran. Ultimately, she found that etching produced better stamp-ability than cutting. This teacher produced a beautiful and simple work of art using laser cutting and an LED string from a LittleBits kit.

She used the laser cutter to created a hinged bacteria chromosome and set it to represent primer sequences to open the chromosome and insert a new gene. Since her classes do transformation with green flourescent protein GFP , she used copper tape, an LED, and a coin cell battery to illuminate the gene when properly inserted into the plasmid!

This group was very interested in the idea of creating spaces-within-a-space, or small architectural hacks to offer smaller experiences within the classroom. They brainstormed a wide variety of amazing implementations, like a small domed cave for making cave paintings. This teacher identified a problem in her school — iPad implementation was going well, but learning spaces were all too loud for students to make decent voice recordings for their range of video and audio projects! The photo and video really do not do the piece justice.

They designed and laser-cut the front facade of their school, and 3D designed and printed a side-building, then sought me out for help with their electronics idea: As you can see in the picture, they were successful. This conference really shows just how innovative teachers can be when presented with challenges, tools, and a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.

You can use such cards to gather other information too, such as school schedule, why the student signed up for the class, whether the student has a part-time job, and whether he or she has access to the Internet at home. As a final bit of information, ask the student to write a headline that best describes him or her!

This headline might be a quote, a familiar expression, or anything else. When students finish filling out the cards, give a little quiz. Then read aloud the headlines one at a time. Ask students to write the name of the person they think each headline best describes. Who got the highest score? It seems as if parents are contacted only if there is a problem with students. At the end of each grading period, use the home address information to send a postcard to a handful of parents to inform them about how well their child is doing.

This might take a little time, but it is greatly appreciated! Pop Quiz Ahead of time, write a series of getting-to-know-you questions on slips of paper -- one question to a slip. You can repeat some of the questions. Then fold up the slips, and tuck each slip inside a different balloon. Blow up the balloons.

Give each student a balloon, and let students take turns popping their balloons and answering the questions inside. Contributor Unknown Fact or Fib? Tell students that you are going to share some information about yourself. Suggest that students take notes; as you speak, they should record what they think are the most important facts you share. When you finish your presentation, tell students that you are going to tell five things about yourself. Four of your statements should tell things that are true and that were part of your presentation; one of the five statements is a total fib.

This activity is most fun if some of the true facts are some of the most surprising things about you and if the "fib" sounds like something that could very well be true. Tell students they may refer to their notes to tell which statement is the fib. Next, invite each student to create a biography and a list of five statements -- four facts and one fib -- about himself or herself. Mitzi Geffen Circular Fact or Fib? Organize students into two groups of equal size.

One group forms a circle equally spaced around the perimeter of the classroom. There will be quite a bit of space between students. The other group of students forms a circle inside the first circle; each student faces one of the students in the first group.

Give the facing pairs of students two minutes to share their second oral "biographies. After each pair completes the activity, the students on the inside circle move clockwise to face the next student in the outer circle. Students in the outer circle remain stationary throughout the activity. When all students have had an opportunity to share their biographies with one another, ask students to take turns each sharing facts and fibs with the class.

The other students refer to their notes or try to recall which fact is really a fib. Contributor Unknown People Poems Have each child use the letters in his or her name to create an acrostic poem.

Tell students they must include words that tell something about themselves -- for example, something they like to do or a personality or physical trait. Invite students to share their poems with the class. This activity is a fun one that enables you to learn how your students view themselves. Allow older students to use a dictionary or thesaurus. Bill Laubenberg Another Poetic Introduction. Ask students to use the form below to create poems that describe them.

This activity lends itself to being done at the beginning of the school year and again at the end of the year. You and your students will have fun comparing their responses and seeing how the students and the responses have changed. Contributor Unknown Food for Thought To get to know students and to help them get to know one another, have each student state his or her name and a favorite food that begins with the same first letter as the name.

Watch out -- it gets tricky for the last person who has to recite all the names and foods! Send students into the school hallways or schoolyard, and ask each to find something that "is completely the opposite of yourself.

To widen the area to be explored, provide this activity as homework on the first night of school. When students bring their items back to class, ask each to describe why the item is not like him or her.

But you might also get some clever responses, such as the one from a young man who brought in the flip-top from a discarded can; he talked about its decaying outward appearance and its inability to serve a purpose without being manipulated by some other force and how he was able to serve a purpose on his own.

Joy Ross Personal Boxes In this activity, each student selects a container of a reasonable size that represents some aspect of his or her personality or personal interests, such as a football helmet or a saucepan. Ask students to fill that object with other items that represent themselves -- for example, family photos, CDs, dirty socks, a ballet shoe -- and bring their containers back to school.

Students can use the objects in the containers as props for three-minute presentations about themselves. As each student gives a presentation, you might write a brief thank-you note that mentions something specific about the presentation so that each student can take home a special note to share with parents.

It might take a few days to give every student the opportunity to share. Getting to Know One Another Volume 2: My Classmates and Me Volume 4: Activities for the First Day of School Volume Back-to-School Activities Volume 5: Be sure to see our tips for using Every-Day Edits in your classroom.

See our idea file. Run out of Every-Day Edit activities for the month of September? Check out our Xtra activities for any time of year. This course is designed for all K educators looking for a fun and engaging way to help students take control of their own learning by using gamification. It can be used for all subject areas at any level.

This course is designed to teach you how to better engage learners by using gamification in their lessons. Ultimately, you will learn how to use gamification as fun, non-threatening built-in assessment for any class content where students get to use choice and voice in their learning.

You will also get to view gamified lesson content samples that are already in use by teachers around the world. On completion of this course, learners will: Have explored how to use gamification as an assessment tool. Understand how to maximize student engagement and foster a growth mindset culture. Gain the competence and confidence to create their own gamified activities, lessons, units, or even full-year themes.

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by your administration? Download the course description here. He was also the community champion award winner for his school district. Many of our subscribers and readers are required to obtain continuing education and Professional Development hours throughout their careers. Time, relevancy and quality are the concerns we hear across all industries in regards to Professional Development available, so we wanted to help change that.

FAQs When does the course start and finish? Most courses available start as soon as you enroll and can be taken at your pace. We suggest trying to have it done within weeks. Graduate level courses operate like a normal college level course and have a start and end date. Refer to the course you are interested in or contact us for a list of start dates.

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10 Collaborative Technology Projects Your Students Will Love! If your classroom is far from a environment (more like ), it can be hard to find great technology projects that really work. Erin Bittman on August 25,

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