The first week of school is chalk full of going over rules, procedures and introductions. I always feel like I am going to lose my voice after the first few days because my "teacher voice" was hibernating during the summer. Those first few days are such busy time for the teacher because we want to get out all of the important things as well as get a chance to know our new class. It takes a creative and thoughtful teacher to make going over all the big and important first week items, fun and exciting rather than boring and dull. The last thing the kids want to do upon returning to school is be bogged down with a bunch of pencil and paper work. My first assignment, the Me Bag, involves almost no writing. I have been using this assignment for the 6 years of teaching, for grades 4-7. I even used it in the 2nd grade class that I student taught in as a getting to know me activity.
I introduce to you: Me Bag, Tell us WHOO you are!
First things first, the teacher models this on the day they assign it. I always bring in a bag full of 5 things that represent me. Here is the one I made for this year...
My 5 items are:
1) a Harry Potter book
2) picture books of my kids
3) a weight/dumbbell
4) an owl coffee mug
5) a wisk
I present each item individually and explain why I included them in my bag and what they represent. Then I ask if anyone has questions they want to ask or likes something I brought. I also pass around my pictures so they have a chance to check them out.
Afterwards, I pass out their assignment:
After I go over the instructions, I give them a planning sheet with a circle map- to help define what things they want to bring, and a tree map- to explain each item in detail. I usually model the circle and tree map for them using the items that I brought. I think out loud so they know how I decided to bring each item.
I walk around to make sure the kids are generating ideas. I share ones that impress me to the class and give the students a chance to share with a partner what they've completed. Then, I have the students write down the due date for their Me Bag and go over their rubric so they know what my expectations are for the assignment.I also tell the class that the items must be in a separate bag, not just in their backpack. This is because one year (and I share this with the class) I had a student bring up their backpack and pull out 5 random things that were inside it. " I uh.. brought this pencil because I like to write... and uh... I brought this eraser because it is my uh... lucky eraser..."
I usually have the students share their Me Bags over the course of a few days so that the kids are more engaged during the presentations. They look forward to them each day too! When the students present, I sit in the back and use the rubric to give them points. I tell the class that they should be listening carefully and respectfully to each of the presenters. I encourage each of the students to either ask a question or make a positive comment to someone who shares their Me Bag. After everyone has shared, we lay our Me Bags out on our desks and do a gallery walk to get a closer look at each of the things that people brought.I hope you consider this Me Bag for your first week of school. It is so engaging, the kids love it and it builds community to your new class. Check it out here at my TpT store.