During my first two years of teaching, I taught multiple grades. No matter how good I was at planning, there were always an extra five minutes of time here or there that I couldn’t seem to fill academically. Rather than simply let the kiddos mess around, I started a “teacher bag”. In this bag I would put 4-8 items about myself. Often these were pictures, little souvenirs from trips I’ve been on, favorite books, etc.
I would pull each one out, talk about it briefly, and then let everyone in the class see it by passing it around. The students knew they were all going to get a closer look at it, so they weren’t all jumping around wanting to see it closely but rather just listening as I told them about each one.
The fact that I taught ELL students made this a great vocabulary lesson. Students learned more about me, learned some new vocabulary, and we had a deeper bond because they knew about me personally.
Now I know some teachers will do a “brown bag” activity during the first few weeks of school where everyone brings five items in a brown bag to share about themselves. I think this is a GREAT idea – but, I’ve almost always taught in smaller schools where the students already know 95+% of their classmates. There’s really no need for me to do this activity when they’ve been going to school together for years. However, since I’m new to them – they LOVE learning more about me.
How do you build connections with your students?