This week’s DojoChatEU was called Transition Days and focused on moving from one class to the next. In the UK, this seems to be a very structured affair, unlike over here where it is informal. In my school, for example, on the final day of the school year, children go to visit their new class.
As usual, #DojoChatEU was divided into some sub-topics and as usual, I’m going to give my own answers.
Question 1: What activity do you do to create class rules/expectations?
As my school is an Educate Together school, this forms part of our Learn Together curriculum. In my own case, I really like using Circle Time regularly to go through the class rules and we tend to meet in a circle once a week to discuss how the rules have been going all week. Usually this is prompted by events that go on. However, at the start of the year, we use the circle to talk about behaviours that we would all like to see in our classroom. I ensure that I am included in these rules too. We all sign a class charter (including me) to say that we will keep the rules. These rules can be added to our ClassDojo class.
Question 2: What are you favourite ice-breaker activities with a new class?
There are lots of ice-breakers that can help depending on the class age. I like simple drama games such as two truths and a lie. Another nice exercise is a sheet that the children fill in for me to tell me some thing(s) that I should know about them as learners. I also think Circle Time works well here for different activities, even if it’s only simple stuff such as passing a smile or a clap.
Question 3: If making a display with your new class for September, what do you create?
I used to love making displays for my class. I think simple things like birthday charts and reward charts are important for any classroom as well as whatever we’re going to be covering in the first month or so. I think it’s important that a classroom looks bright and cheerful all year round but as the year goes on, the displays should reflect more of the children’s work than mine.
Question 4: What will you miss about your old class? What are you most looking forward to with your new class?
As I am an administrative principal now, I don’t teach a class full-time. However, every year we lose children to secondary school and gain some new junior infants. I do miss many of the children that leave our school as one builds up a good relationship with them and their families over the 8 years they have in primary school. Even the children who have been challenging throughout their time are missed and often come up in conversation in the staffroom in a fond way. New Junior Infants are always great fun as they are so small when they arrive. These days, it’s rare to have tears on the first day of school as most of them have pre-school experience. I just love the stories that come out from them.