Getting to know your students is one of the most important things you can do as a teacher. With the new school year right around the corner, it is a great time to look at your getting to know you activities and decide which ones you are bringing back into the classroom this fall and which you may leave behind! Here are some ways I think will help you and help you figure out how to get to know your students.
How To Get To Know Your Students
Whether you are a veteran teacher or a new teacher, I bet you have experienced getting to know you activities in the classroom, and you know there are plenty of ways to get to know your students.
On the first day, teachers may send out a student survey they never look at again or play a classroom bingo game where no one remembers a thing about each other after. These are usually the first “homework assignment” or quick activities to fill a 40-minute block or the 15 minutes before PE. So how can you as a teacher get to know your students in a meaningful way and not just as a time filler? Here are 4 ways you can get to know your students that take little classroom time!
Joke of the Day
No matter what gravel level you teach, every student loves a good joke (even middle school age). Although some students may call you “cringe” or say it was a “dad joke.” You can write it on the board before class to save time and get your students thinking.
If you teach older students, you can even leave the joke of the day up to them and have them come up with different jokes each day (if they can be appropriate, of course!).
When thinking about how to get to know your students, always think of fun and quick ways. A good joke of the day is a great way to get laughing and build a fun relationship with your students! Plus, it only will take a little bit out of your day.
Many teachers see classroom jobs as a classroom management strategy. But when figuring out how to get to know your students, you can learn a lot from classroom jobs. When discussing jobs and describing what each job is responsible for, you will get a quick glimpse of what your students enjoy and what they would like to do to help you around the classroom. Grab this editable classroom jobs resource in my TPT store.
The classroom messenger may enjoy talking to other adults and teachers and likes to help, while the tech assistant may love all things computers, Google, and more. Having classroom jobs inside your classroom will give you some quick snapshots of your students.
Talk And Interact With Students
A small conversation can go a long way when getting to know students. During the first six weeks of school, make a goal to try and learn at least 3 new things about each of your students and then keep up with it. Make a point to try and talk to each student every day, even if it is for just a minute or two.
Depending on your grade level, you may have a note to the teacher basket where students can write you little notes or an “I want my teacher to know” mailbox where students may have important things they want to talk to you about but feel weird starting the conversation face to face.
This makes a simple bulletin board for the classroom! Buy a calendar where you or students can rip away each month easily. Discuss the calendar with your students and show them how students write any important events on the calendar. These events may include baseball games, dance recitals, birthdays, etc. Let them know you will be writing all school-wide events like dances and concerts are on there each month to make sure you and they know when they are.
Even if you can not make each event students write on the calendar, it is an excellent way for others to see what your students are up to! Plus, it’s a really cool way to still include a calendar in your classroom if you are in the upper grades, like 3rd and up.
Activities To Get To Know Students
These activities are definitely different and unlike the traditional get to know your students activities. They are simple and easy to implement and a little more meaningful than just random get to know your students questions or a get to know your students worksheet. You’ll gain information that will actually be useful to you throughout the year, and you’ll feel a little more connected with your students.