First Week of School Fun!

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Alright guys and gals, I am checking in for a brief post following my survival of the first week of school!  Woo!
 If I can make a confession… I fell asleep at 8:30 on a Friday night!  My first thought is to blame it on the fact I have a birthday coming up Wednesday and I’m just getting old – but really it’s just that first week of school craziness that caused it!
Anyway, a few months ago I was contacted by [The Mailbox] which is an awesome company that offers lesson plan ideas and more.  I totally had some resources from them and didn’t even realize it.
So long story short, I wanted to share an activity I did during the first week of school to #BeTheDifference this year.  Every year as educators we strive to learn more about our kiddos so that we can reach them (especially those struggling kiddos).  I think that we can all agree that if you don’t know your kids then it can be difficult to make an impact on them. 
So here’s what I did to get a start on this super important feat.
First, you will need an inexpensive beach ball.  Then, label it with your students’ names or add their pictures.  Finally, during the first week or two of school gather all of the kiddos in a common area of the room and have them toss the ball around and either share a random fact from their summer, something they know about a friend in the class, or anything else of your choosing.
As you can see I chose to just write my kiddos names on the beach ball and have them call out the name of the student they were tossing it to as we played to keep things simple.  However, the possibilities are endless!
I learned a ton about what was important to my kids and what they felt was enjoyable over the summer.  I also learned that some had a hard time identifying something that they found to be enjoyable.  All great insight for me while being fun for the kiddos.  In the age of standardized testing, common care, rigorous assessments and the like, it is hard to deny the importance of having some fun.
Albeit that the first graders in my room have more privileges than the students in my room last year, they still have needs that I must find a way to address.  My first step is by learning about them.  My question to you is – what are you doing to be the difference this year?

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