Welcome 2017 .
A frantic start to the year which finally seems to be settling down and I can blog my first post for the academic year. Along with a new challenge of teaching Year 7 and 8 Science, I have my regular Year 9 – 13 Digital Technology teaching load. I am keen to launch a couple of new initiatives this year. The first being a Drone flying/racing club for students interested in taking this hobby up and a lunchtime activity for students creating projects in learning Arduino/ Raspberry Pi.
The beginning of year brings many challenges including how do you connect with your students in the first week (it’s the second week already though). On our professional development day which was in week 1 this term, I read an article in an older copy of the Principals’ Digest (Volume 13 Number 4). I have used this article with permission from the Editor.
70 Things you can do in the first few weeks of school
This article has some fantastic suggestions on reconnecting with your students once they return from a break. Setting routines is key at the start of the year and giving relevant information about the course through documentation, including setting up your Learning management system like Google Classroom, adding students and the relevant information. #14 states Greet your students at the door when they enter the classroom. That point reminded me of a video I watched in the holidays. A classroom teacher in North Carolina had a personalised greeting for each student in his class and he said (quoted) it acts as a relationship builder between the tutor and the students.
(Unique handshake by Teacher)
Joining in student conversations is also a good bonding technique. Sometimes there might not be a lot you can contribute in which is fine. Encourage students to bring in current news items especially related to your subject area. A couple of filming enthusiasts at school often bring their recordings to share with the rest of the class. This ‘show and tell’ gives them the opportunity to display their talents and possibly ignite interest in others.
Lastly, it is key to gather evidence for your teaching through student feedback early in the year. Simple Google Forms or even an anonymous sheet can help in this matter.
Looking forward for an exciting year ahead.