Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Connect with Students from the Start: Team on Tuesday Kick Off.

By Linda Ashida

Today the Collab Lab kicked off the first of our Teaming on Tuesdays, a weekly learning exchange in various formats that will include Spark Sessions, Show and Tell, Lesson Demos, and Book Chats.

We welcome all EG staff to join us in the Collab Lab on Tuesdays during the morning professional learning time. We will also connect with colleagues across District 214 and beyond on future Tuesdays via Google Hangout and Periscope. (More on that soon!) Each session will be framed around a different focus question that will drive our discussions and sharing. All staff are invited to share topics of interest for future weeks.

We anticipate that these conversations will be a springboard to future collaborations: connecting again one-on-one or in small groups, and visiting classes. 

In fact, that already happened with the 12 staff who came together to share! Two participants invited colleagues to stop by their classes the same day to see examples of the strategies they shared. Three others dropped by the Collab Lab later in the day to share how they were  planning to implement an idea they heard from another colleague! Talk about multiplying our learning from just a 40-minute exchange of ideas!

If you weren't able to join us for this first Teaming on Tuesday, no worries! Of course, as always, we used the whiteboard wall to document the ideas that everyone shared. We will keep them on the wall at least for a few days so that you can stop by to get an idea or add a new idea of your own!

And . . . even without stopping by the Collab Lab, you can do the same with this very Collab Blog post: Get a new idea, or share one of your own in the comments below!

Read on to see what we learned today!

Today's guiding question: 

What do you do to build relationships with your students from the start?

Today's format: Show and tell.  

Round 1:  Each person takes 2 minutes to share their ideas with group. (This could also be done in a speed-dating format.)
Round 2: Follow-up conversation:
  • What works?
  • What challenges or question do we have? 
  • What are our next steps?
Wrap up: Call to action:
  • Keep the conversation going.
  • Consider sharing examples via Twitter or the Collab Blog 
  • Consider extending an invite to class to see strategies in action.

Ideas we shared:

Rachel Barry:  
Connect students in ice-breaker activities with varied prompts such as "Would you rather . . ? Use Team Shake to solve challenge problems. Rotate teams often. Remind students that mistakes are ok, in fact, important because we learn from them. 

Mark Heintz: 
Act as Substitute Teacher trying to figure out pronunciation of each name while taking attendance. Take notes to pronounce names correctly from start. Names are important.  On index cards students write answers to "get-to-know-you prompts. Mark uses these cards throughout the year call  and group students He keeps refers often to the cards to really get to know his students.

Tim Phillips:
Get-to-know-you activity with Claims. Throughout the year, students will use evidence to defend claims, so he starts they year with an activity to do this with non-academic prompts first. He also has students fill out a get-to-know-you survey,  including question: What can I do to help you be successful?"

Ricky Castro: 
One-on-one conferences with students. These conversations serve as a way to get to know students and prevent issues. Ricky talks with them about challenges from previous years and asks, "How can I help you?" He does a "Drop-the-Rug" team-building activity and name game. He starts year with Identity unit, so that embeds discussions that build relationships. Ricky is also considering plans to do home visits on Saturdays to involve parents as partners in solutions to best meet the needs of our students. More on that soon.
Mary Kemp:  
Students respond to get-to-know-you questions including: Something you'd like me to know about you? How are you as a learner? Successes? Challenges? These questions help her understand, and better respond to, the needs of the diverse learners in her classes. Mary also does problem-solving activities in teams, including a pass-back activity that she already invited us to see in her Physics class. Students work collaboratively to solve different problems and correct and revise with each pass-back that happens every 45 seconds. Check out this video clip the strategy in action!

Jim Arey:  
Team-building activities like egg-drop activity. He also does a map activity: asking students to identify: "Where is your family from?" Then they pair with a classmate and share. He does processing activities with talking circles, and Chiji cards. Jim also has his students maintain a Reflection Portfolio across the semester.
Amanda Lamorte:
Low-key get to know you activities. Take toilet paper sheets and share an idea for each sheet (interesting fact about you, etc.) Dice roll activity where each number corresponds to a category that they respond to. Can do with different kinds of candy, too.

Kim Miklusak: 
Speed-dating activity with editorial writing.  Students get to know one another at the same time that they are interacting with content. In this case, their topic ideas for editorials with questions from peers to probe and improve development of topic ideas. Use whiteboard tables for students to share ideas and rotate and learn from peers' ideas.In-depth survey that includes question, "What can I do, what should I do, to help you with .  .? "

Jessica Maciejewski:
Day 1 rotating stations: Prezi on Jessica (student watch to get to know her); assignment example completed by Jessica to see model and to see that she does the work she asks them to do (builds buy-in); a day-in-the life prompt (students share what is a day in their life like); and, improv activities.  Jessica has a book of improv activities if anyone is interested.  (And rumor has it she has a weekly improv show . . . )
Quinn Loch:
Students do an "All About Me" Spark videos. The first weeks they work in teams on fun problem solving challenges.  He invited us to his class the same day to see one in action:  Fortune Telling Fish, captured in the photos below:

Linda Ashida:
Speed-dating activity with varied get-to-know-you prompts. Marathon Pep-talk (Long journey of training, all different levels, can we all cross the finish line? yes! Training has to start long before and we have to commit to cross the finish line. . . ) Index cards with names of students and responses to questions that are referred to throughout the year and when talking with parents at conferences or during phone conversations.

Rita Thompson:
Rita stopped by a bit later in the day to share an activity that has a sginificant impact on the sense of community in her class. She has even noted fewer tardies to her class. She made changes in her "get-to-know-you" survey from previous years.  This year she invited them to share: dreams and ideas about careers; where in the world they would go if they could go anywhere; struggles; pride in an achievement, and more. 

Next steps

Let's keep the conversation going! Even if you didn't attend this Teaming on Tuesday session, consider sharing an idea of your own. And, if you read an idea you'd like to know more about, reach out to these colleagues in person or via their Twitter accounts (linked above with their names). Or, stop by the Collab Lab to chat with us.

The photos below give you an idea of the enthusiastic exchange of ideas we shared. We are looking forward to the Teaming on Tuesdays to come.

Do you have an idea to share? Feedback or a resource to share?  We'd love to hear from you! See us in person or leave a comment below!

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