Last year a number of colleagues asked me for ideas of how they can incorporate the learner’s tablets with getting to know their new class and simplifying all the admin that needs to be done on the first day.
But the start of the new year was so hectic I never got to complete the blog post that I started on Back-to-school activities, so I kept it for this year.
Before I share my favourite activities, I have to mention something. You can do most of these activities without using any technology, but the first day is an excellent opportunity to get learners comfortable with their devices. As I have mentioned before, the first time you do a new type of activity, it will probably be chaos and not work the way you planned. Instead of getting upset because it didn’t work, do a trial in a no pressure situation, like a getting-to-know-you activity.
Back-to-school technology: Google Forms
As a register teacher, it is essential that you have easy access to your learner’s vital information. Yes, the school should have a database of all the information available. But I have always prefered to have my own records. If there is one thing that Google Forms are made for, it is gathering information efficiently.
I know the start of the year is a busy time, so here is a form you can just adapt to your own needs. You can share it via email, but it is always better to share it via Google Classroom because you get less of those tricky “Signed in with the wrong account” issues.
Once you have gathered the necessary information, you might want them to complete this questionnaire of RANDOM FACTS to help you get to know them.
Back-to-school technology: Collab-slides
If you have been following Butterfly Classrooms for a while, you will know that I am a huge fan of Collaborative Slides or Insta-worksheets.
So it should come as no surprise that I would use collab-slides to get learners to know each other. The advantage is you can refer back to the slideshow if you struggle with names like me.
Create a slide to introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Add your name, a photo and tell us something about yourself. Give them half an hour to make their slides and then ask them to “present” it to the class. Or for a bit of variation divide learners into pairs, where each creates their own slide but “present” their partner’s.
This has always been a favourite of mine. I am terrible with names and have found that I remember a name better if I know the story behind the name. In a similar fashion “Who am I?”, but ask learners to create a slide telling the story of their name.
Back-to-school technology: Kahooting
If you are willing to put a little bit of time into it, you can use Kahoot to make getting to know the learners a lot of fun.
Use the Guess-who-Google Form to gather an interesting fact about learners make a Kahoot out of it. Here is an example. Just remember that you have to be fair and include each learner at least once.
A new twist on an old game. Ask learners to write down two truths and a lie about themselves. To save you from retyping everything, put it as a QUESTION on Google Classroom.
Create a Kahoot with each learner’s name as the question and the three facts as answers, and they have to pick the lie.