Two Birds With One Pencil

Happy Back To School, all! 

I know some of you are already back in the classroom… and some of you are still chillaxin’ in the pool. I am on my very last Friday of the summer! (Yay/How did that happen?) So I am up to my eyeballs in all that first week of school stuff… syllabi, seating charts, “there are HOW MANY kids in my lab class?!”, get to know the kid activities that won’t make the kids hate me, trying to solve last year’s problems. So I decided on day ONE I am going to tackle those last 2 (because I like putting the syllabi off…. not fun no matter what activity you turn it into). 

This is my 2nd year in my school (10th year overall- time flies!). Last year every single kid was new to me. I forgot how overwhelming that is! So this year, I know a few more… but I found that in this big of a school, the kids don’t know each other! So not only do I need to get to know them, they need to get to know each other. I try to make my classes as student centered and collaborative as possible. And that relies on them being comfortable with one another. So day one- we are working on being a community! And for “solving last year’s problems”- SO MANY KIDS without something to write with! Here’s how I’m combining the 2: 

I bought this pack of 150 pencils in 14 different designs (less than 13 cents/pencil!). 

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I am going to sharpen them and hand one to each student as they walk in the door. Now everyone has a pencil- problem solved! Until day 2 at least…. =) 

Onto part 2- I put together a power point pairing up the pencils. For example, strawberries pair up with mermaids and orange cat heads pair up with blue camo. Using their pencils, they find their partners. Then I will give them an “either or” to discuss for a FULL 60 seconds. So they will talk about why they chose that answer. Then we switch partners and do another question. So far I’ve come up with: earbuds or headphones, Visit Hawaii or Alaska, Pool or Beach, Cats or Dogs, DC or Marvel, and Facebook or Twitter. 

I am in the process of setting up the pencils for each class- have to make sure there are pairs and not just hand them out randomly! Not sure exactly how this will work out… but here goes nothing! 

Bring it on 2018-19! =) 

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