By Toni Poling

The school year begins and 130 fresh faces file through my classroom in one day and I want to get to know all of them.  Let’s just say the struggle is real.  Good teachers know, and the research supports, that students learn better when they feel a connection with the classroom teacher; students learn better when they feel understood and supported; students learn better when they feel the classroom teacher is invested in them.  Good teachers also want learning to occur from the first day in the classroom, so how can we start building a rapport with students on day one?

Over the past thirteen years that I’ve been a classroom teacher, I’ve tried countless methods of building a rapport and getting to know my students.  I’ve journaled with them.  I’ve used student interest surveys.  I’ve designed icebreaker activities with beach balls, popsicle sticks, or toilet paper.  I’ve tried the 2×10 strategy (you spend 2 minutes per day for 10 consecutive days talking with a student on a topic of their selection), which works great with individual students but loses its effectiveness in larger groups.  This year, I decided to do something different.

Though the first few days of school are usually filled with going over the syllabus, classroom management plan, learning expectations, and fire drill procedures, I also wanted to lay the foundation for a positive classroom climate that focuses on learning and a growth mindset.  For the past few years, I’ve used the six-word memoir as an introduction to personal narrative.  I decided to adapt my six-word memoir activity into a one on tone, both identifying author’s tone AND establishing a tone for our personal interactions with others, in and out of the classroom.

I introduced the six-word memoir with some mentor texts that the students and I read and evaluated for tone.

  • Smiling through gritted teeth…smiling nonetheless.
  • Need to say this: Write now.
  • My salad days wilted long ago.
  • Porch swings slow down a conversation.
  • Daughters: the soundtrack of my life.
  • Life’s chaos has stolen my sleep.
  • Revenge is best served in novels.
  • Backyards are more honest than front.
  • Shed my baggage. Life begins now.

And I ended with the famous six-word memoir: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

After our discussion concluded, my students were getting the idea behind six-word memoirs, but one young lady anxiously asked me to model one more.

I took the opportunity to teach a lesson about classroom expectations.  I asked students to close their eyes and visualize themselves standing inside of a hula hoop.  I reminded them that they only things within their control is what is inside of the hula hoop.  As students in this classroom, they can control themselves: their thoughts, actions, and interactions with others.  My six-word memoir? Stand in your own hula hoop.

Next, I gave students an index card to use as a thinking card.  Students were asked to draft their own six-word memoir.  They were encouraged to think about the following:

  • What is going on in your life right now?
  • What is your life motto?
  • What are your hopes for the future?

When my students returned to class the next day, I gave each a ½ sheet of 8 ½” x 11” paper.  I asked them to write their six-word memoir on the paper and to use the art supplies I provided to decorate it.  Students signed their memoirs on the back, and they are hanging anonymously in the hallway outside of my room.

                                                               

While my students worked on decorating their six-word memoirs, I walked around the room and asked them to explain the meaning behind.  Those quick interactions told me more about my students in 30 seconds than hours spent reading student interest surveys.

            

WVCTE is wondering…

  1. How do you form connections with your students early in the school year?
  2. If you have utilized the six-word memoir in your class, how has it worked for you?

26 Comments

Claris Castleman · July 1, 2018 at 12:01 am

My wife and i got quite ecstatic when John managed to deal with his homework using the precious recommendations he discovered from your own web pages. It’s not at all simplistic just to be freely giving concepts that many people could have been making money from. So we know we need the writer to be grateful to because of that. Most of the explanations you’ve made, the simple web site menu, the relationships you will give support to create – it’s got mostly wonderful, and it’s really making our son and our family reason why the subject matter is awesome, which is certainly exceptionally essential. Thanks for the whole thing!Event air conditioning in Chennai

game online ceme · July 1, 2018 at 1:41 am

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
this topic to be actually something which I think I would
never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the
hang of it!

Israel · July 1, 2018 at 3:43 am

Gibt es in Ihrem bloig eine Kontaktseite? Ich habe eine harte Zeit
Probleme Ortung es aber, Ich möchte schicken Sie eine E-Mail.
Empfehlungen für Ihrr Blog Sie interessiert Verhandlung sein könnten Ich
habe einige bekam.So oder so, große Website und ich freuen uuns
darauf, ssie zuu entwiickeln Verbesserung wachsen im Laufe der Zeit.

anal sex toy · July 1, 2018 at 7:45 am

Hi there to еvery one, ѕince I am truⅼy keen of reading this weblog’ѕ post t᧐ be updated daily.
Іt inclսԀеs nice material.

http://ruyitea.com/comment/html/?409587.html · July 1, 2018 at 11:56 am

Hallo, Ich fühle mich i i saw besucht Sie meinen weblog kam zu
Zurück der wählen Ich bin?. Versuch zu finden Fragen zu verbessern verbessern mein web site Ich nehme!

ok zu nutzen machen einige von Ideen !!

about.me · July 5, 2018 at 6:12 pm

I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and
coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

daftar bola tangkas · July 5, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to
“return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!I
suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Dona Galletta · July 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm

chiropractor bloomington il

best shoe websites · July 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

online sale of shoes

Cotton Fabric · July 10, 2018 at 12:11 am

cheap womens sneakers online

boat shoes · July 10, 2018 at 12:27 am

cheap ladies fashion

Cara Daftar Akun S128 · July 10, 2018 at 12:43 am

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter
to be really something that I think I would never understand.
It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post,
I will try to get the hang of it!

Daftar Sabung Ayam Online S128 · July 10, 2018 at 12:56 am

Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this
technological world the whole thing is presented on web?

womens fashion shoes · July 10, 2018 at 1:44 am

Electronics and Communication

shoes purchase online · July 10, 2018 at 6:02 am

buy cheap high heels

good shoe websites · July 10, 2018 at 6:10 am

lg phone cases target

Electronics and Communication · July 10, 2018 at 7:17 am

Electronic sport

samsung phone cases s6 · July 10, 2018 at 8:50 am

best place to buy boots

cheap high heels shoes · July 10, 2018 at 11:45 am

cheap pumps for sale

french drains · July 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Awesome webpage. We are looking for other sites and blogs to get ideas from. We’re always looking to get better!

stylish shoes · July 10, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Chemical Auxiliary Agent

美白 · July 11, 2018 at 2:27 am

100有機潤唇膏

lg phone cases · July 11, 2018 at 2:29 am

iphone case supreme

Roxanna · July 11, 2018 at 3:42 am

Hello this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG
editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
Any help would be enormously appreciated!

affordable high heels online · July 11, 2018 at 8:18 am

cheap heels for women

完美胸部塑型護理 · July 11, 2018 at 9:41 am

100有機潤唇膏

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: