3 Ways to Really Get to Know Your Students

Building a classroom community is one of the most important things for teachers to think about at the start of a school year. Successful classroom communities begin by forming positive relationships with students. For that to happen, you have to really get to know your students and let them get to know you. This takes time and effort. Here are some of my favorite ideas to get you started. 

I start by modeling the activity. I present three things I want my students to know about me. I tell them some things about myself that they wouldn't already know.  They are usually surprised and interested in what I chose to tell them. Next, each student writes three things that they want me to know about them. 

I love this activity because it is open-ended and it allows students to choose what they want to share without having to talk in front of a group. Some students will write about their hobbies, pets, and friends. Others will share strengths and weaknesses.  

I use the writing to help find common interests and connections between the students. I am also able to find ways to connect with students that I wouldn't have known before. 

On the first day of school, I ask each student to create an emoji that would represent his/her personality. Students brainstorm on a plain piece of paper and then create a big emoji out of construction paper. 
Bulletin Board decorated with student created emojis.

Once the emojis are created, students write about it. They explain each feature and how it represents their personality. This activity gives me a glimpse of how my students view themselves. And, it makes an amazing bulletin board for Open House Night. 

I start this activity by having students brainstorm a list of fun things they did during the summer break. I remind students that simple memories are just as important as vacations.

 Each student lists nine fun things they did during the summer break. Then the students will create a "Summergram" grid with nine pictures to represent the activities and plan a "Summergram" post. This activity can also be turned into a cute bulletin board. 
Wooden table with summergram craftivity completed.

I love this activity because it generates a lot of conversation. The students talk about what they did and how they are going to draw it. I circulate around the room asking questions and sharing observations. Grab this Summergram activity here

Building relationships with students takes time, but it is well worth the effort. These positive relationships will help your classroom community to grow. 

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