In my opinion, there are two crucial things to begin the school year with - team building activities and values. It is these two things that help students to settle into their new classroom, establish connections with their peers and understand the expectations.
- It sets up expectations for how you want your students to work and behave for the year.
- It will be useful when creating your class contract or treaty.
- It can be used to create a meaningful wall display. It is something that the students would have had an active role in creating, which can be used as a point of reference and a constant reminder of the values and expected behaviour your the classroom.
- Is a great way for students to start learning how to work collaboratively.
This year at Glen Innes School, we have introduced our brand new school values. They are Responsibility, Effort, Ako, Commitment and Honesty... aka REACH. Since it was our first year with school values, it was super important that students made a connection to them. I expect my students to become role models to the rest of the school in showing the REACH values. Here is how I have taught them to my classroom.
Bus stop rotation
- Students get into groups and begin at a specific 'station', where a large sheet of paper and some questions/prompts on it (or just one question/prompt if you want).
- Students work collaboratively to record their responses to the first question.
- After about 3-4 minutes, students get up and move to the next 'station'.
- Then, students read what the previous group has written, and adds their own ideas to the first question. If they feel they can, they move to the second question on their new sheet.
- This cycle continues until the teacher feels the students all have shared enough ideas and they have a good understanding of the topic.
- Then come together as a classroom to have a conversation about what they can remember about each value.
Class discussion of the values
|Students' suggestions of values|
What does each value 'look' like?
Walking the walkNext, in groups of around 6, students were tasked with staging photographs which showed the students using each value. I also told them that they could edit them with speech and thought bubbles to make each value clear.
|Some of my students photos to show our school values|
Creating a DLOA DLO (Digital Learning Object) is Manaiakalani speak for 'creating something to show what you have learnt'. Since a lot of students haven't done this before, the school values lessons are a great way to introduce DLOs. Students work in groups of 3 to create a DLO that explains their understanding of the school values. For each value, students MUST
- Have their own explanation of the value (use the bus stop activity and Padlet to help them)
- Include a their photo that shows the value in action (they can add in thought or speech bubbles to make the value more explicit)
- Explanation of why the value is important.
Make it a wall display
Make some lettering, print out the photos and staple everything onto your wall. And there you have it, your first, purposeful and student-created wall display!
|Our values wall display. Next to it is our class jobs and class dojo rewards and consequences (we came up with this as a class). Underneath those will be our class contract.|