Back To School

06 Dec Back To School

New year

Depending on which hemisphere you find yourself in, you will either be at the start of a new school year or the beginning of the second semester.

Either way, these first few days  should be seen as an amazing opportunity to set out on a quest, in partnership with our students, to make learning wonder-full.

wonder_full

To assist teachers in getting students into the groove, we have developed some cool s starter activities, designed to initiate conversations with students about the year ahead and how we can connect with common purpose to make this year awesome.

The following examples provide links to the questions and content required to build these activities in your Verso Teacher accounts.

1. Alan November v. Dan Pink

dan_pink

The first set of activities looks at a combination of Alan November’s First 5 Days initiative and Dan Pink’s “What’s Your Sentence” Project.
By combining the thinking of these thought leaders, I believe we can engage our students in deep thinking, goal setting and personal character development from day one.
Dan Pink’s question is based on a quote from Clare Booth Luce, who was concerned that President John F Kennedy might be in danger of trying to do too much, thereby losing focus.

great_man

She told him “a great man is a sentence”, meaning that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line (e.g., “Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves.”).

This activity requires students to watch and listen to other students sharing what they would like their sentences to be.
Running this activity in the first 5 days, not only requires students to think deeply about what motivates them. It can also be revisited at intervals throughout the year to check that students are on track to meet their goals.

Elementary whats your sentence

Activity 1: What’s Your Sentence (Grades 3-6)

Watch the video and think carefully about the children’s ideas. What would you like your sentence to be?

SHARE: What’s your sentence? Share how you would like to be remembered and make sure you explain why this is important to you

CARE: Click on other people’s responses idea and see if you can offer some advice that might help them to achieve their goal over this coming year

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Activity 2: What’s Your Sentence (Grade 7-9)

Think carefully about Dan Pink’s message and how it relates to your life at home and school. As you listen to the example sentences in the video, please think carefully about a bold sentence of your own.

RESPOND: What’s YOUR Sentence? Share how you would like to be thought of and be sure to explain why this is important to you

COMMENT: Read and comment positively on as many people’s sentences as you can, offering encouragement and ideas of how this year could be used to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals! Try extending the sentence. Could it be more specific?

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Whats your sentence Middle

walt whitman verse

Activity 3: Walt Whitman – What Will Your Verse Be (Grade 9-12)

Walt Whitman reminds us that it is in this life – “this powerful play”, that we each have a pivotal role. We may contribute a verse! This defines who we are and what we are about. It is our personal mission statement.

We all have not only the ability but the responsibility to contribute a verse.

RESPONSE: What will your verse be? What impact do you want to have on the world? What kind of legacy would you want to leave?

COMMENT: Select at least one response and then comment on the following: How might Apple have represented this verse in their commercial?

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Activity 4: Professional Learning – First 5 Days

(VIDEO: Attendees at BLC 2014 sharing their response to Alan November’s First 5 days initiative)

Alan November believes there exists a significant opportunity in the First 5 Days of School to set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning. He lays down the challenge for teachers to consider the broad opportunities that await in the first five days of school.

RESPONSE: How will you use the First 5 Days to activate, inspire, motivate and engage your students in order to set them up for a successful year?

COMMENT: Support your colleagues by extending their ideas, offering inspiration, links to resources, potential partnerships or just giving them the green light to find their greatness

For more inspiration on The First 5 days, visit November learning’s website to hear from educators from around the world
http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/first-5-days-of-school/

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Professional learning 5 days

2. Activating students to think about the way they learn

rube goldberg machine

Activity 5: Rube Goldberg Machine

This activity asks students to think about the importance of failure and feedback. It offers an opportunity to discuss growth mindsets and the importance of grit and tenacity.

 

A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a very simple task in a very complicated fashion.

RESPONSE: What does this video teach us about learning?
COMMENT: Read several responses and see if you can add to or extend each person’s thinking by starting your comment with “yes and…”

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Activity 6: Our Classroom

The results of a three-year research project have shown that the design of a classroom at an elementary school can boost learning progress by up to 16% in a single year. This activity asks students to begin to rethink their learning environment.

 

“Classroom design can boost primary student progress by 16%”

Results of a three-year research project have shown that the design of a classroom at an elementary school can boost learning progress by up to 16% in a single year.

RESPOND: What could we do to make our classroom a better place to learn? Share changes you would like to see to the environment, the physical spaces or the way we use the room.

COMMENT: Read a few responses and think about who the changes would benefit most (The teacher, students or the whole class) make sure you highlight any issues that anybody may have with each suggested change. Remember there is always a different point of view!

You can find the imagery for this activity here

Classroom design

Kid President

Activity 7: Kid President – What can you do to be awesome?

Kid President is otherwise known as Robby Novak, age 9. His executive order: for us all to “treat everybody like it’s his or her birthday,” every single day. Kid President commands you to wake up, listen to the beating of your heart and do something that will make the world awesome. This activity requires students to reflect on the past year before setting targets for the coming year.

 

Kid President is otherwise known as Robby Novak, age 9. His executive order: for us all to “treat everybody like it’s their birthday,” every single day.

Kid President commands you to wake up, listen to the beating of your heart and do something that will make the world awesome.
Click here to find out more https://www.ted.com/speakers/kid_president

SHARE:
What will you do to make this your most awesome year?
Share ONE thing you have done really well this year and you would like to continue.
Share TWO things you will try to do better (Remember to set targets)
and ONE new thing that you would like try to do to make everybody’s world awesome!

COMMENT: Read what your friends have said and see if you can offer support, encouragement or advice. Try to offer advice on how they might measure how successful they have been at achieving their goals.

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Activity 8: Cultivating Curiosity

This activity builds on Kath Murdoch’s seminal Ted Talk. The Power of Ummm, in which she talks about the power of curiosity and the importance of nurturing it in our classrooms. This activity sets out to reestablish your learning space as a place for awe and wonder!

 

In this video, Chris Anderson shares his obsession with quirky questions that seem to have no answers

SHARE: What is your big question? Start your response with “I have always wondered…”
CARE: Read and comment on ideas that get you thinking. Find ideas that also make you curious and explain why.

Remember to give great ideas a “like”

You can find the video to use for this activity here

Cultivating curiosity

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