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Pop Quiz

Fact or fib?

Circular fact or fib

People poems

Another poetic introduction

Food for thought

I am NOT

Personal boxes


Pop Quiz: Ahead of time, write a series of getting-to-know-you questions on slips of paper -- one question to a slip.  (You can repeat some of the questions.)  Then fold up the slips, and tuck each slip inside a different balloon.  Blow up the balloons.  Give each student a balloon, and let students take turns popping their balloons and answering the questions inside.  -- Contributor Unknown


Fact or fib?: This is a good activity for determining your students' note-taking abilities.  Tell students that you are going to share some information about yourself.  They'll learn about some of your background, hobbies, and interests from the 60-second oral "biography" that you will present.  Suggest that students take notes; as you speak, they should record what they think are the most important facts you share.  When you have completed your presentation, tell students that you are going to tell five things about yourself.  Four of your statements should tell things that are true and that were part of your presentation; one of the five statements is a total fib.  (This activity is most fun if some of the true facts are some of the most surprising things about you and if the "fib" sounds like something that could very well be true.)  Tell students they may refer to their notes to tell which statement is the fib.  Next, invite each student to create a biography and a list of five statements -- four facts and one fib -- about himself or herself.  Then provide each student a chance to present the 60-second oral biography and to test the others' note-taking abilities by presenting his or her own "fact or fib quiz."  You can have students do this part of the activity in small groups.  -- Mitzi Geffen


Circular fact or fib?:  Here's a variation on the previous activity: Divide the class into two groups of equal size.  One group forms a circle equally spaced around the perimeter of the classroom.  (There will be quite a bit of space between students.)  The other group of students forms a circle inside the first circle; each student faces one of the students in the first group.  Give the facing pairs of students two minutes to share their 60-second oral "biographies."  While each student is talking, the partner takes notes.  After each pair completes the activity, the students on the inside circle move clockwise to face the next student in the outer circle.  (Students in the outer circle remain stationary throughout the activity.)  When all students have had an opportunity to share their biographies with one another, ask students to take turns each sharing his or her facts and fib with the class.  The other students refer to their notes to try to recall which fact is really a fib.  -- Contributor Unknown


People poems: Have each child use the letters in his or her name to create an acrostic poem.  For example, Bill could take his name and write
Tell students they must include words that tell something about themselves -- for example, something they like to do or a personality or physical trait.  Invite students to share their poems with the class.  This activity is a fun one that enables you to learn how your students view themselves.  Allow older students to use a dictionary or thesaurus.  You might also vary the number of words for each letters, according to the students' grade levels.  -- Bill Laubenberg


Another poetic introduction: Ask students to use the form below to create poems that describe them.

Name _______________
    Title (of poem) _______________
    I will never ________________
    I will never ________________
    and I will never ________________
    But I will always ________________

This activity is another that lends itself to being done at the beginning of the school year and again at the end of the year.  You and your students will have fun comparing their responses and seeing how the students AND the responses have changed.  -- Contributor Unknown


Food for thought: To get to know students and to help them get to know one another, have each student state his or her name and a favorite food that begins with the same first letter as the name.  For example, "Hi, my name is Latrece, and I like liver."  As each student introduces himself or herself, he or she must repeat the names and favorite foods of the students who came before.  Watch out; it gets tricky for the last person who has to recite all the names and foods!  -- Latrece Hughes


I am NOT!: Here's a challenging activity that might help high school teachers learn about students' abilities to think critically.  Send students into the school hallways or schoolyard, and ask each to find something that "is completely the opposite of yourself."  (Option: To widen the area to be explored, provide this activity as homework on the first night of school.)  When students bring their items back to class, ask each to describe why the item is NOT like he or she.  You'll get a lot of flowers, or course, and students will describe how those flowers are fragrant or soft (or otherwise unlike themselves).  But you might also get some clever responses such as the one from a young man who brought in the flip-top from a discarded can; he talked about its decaying outward appearance and its inability to serve a purpose without being manipulated by some other force (and how he was able to serve a purpose on h is own).  -- Joy Ross


Personal boxes: In this activity, each student selects a container of a reasonable size that represents some aspect of his or her personality or personal interests (such as a football helmet or a saucepan).  Ask students to fill that object with other items that represent themselves -- for example, family photos, CDs, dirty socks (because their room at home is always a mess) or a ballet shoe -- and bring their containers back to school.  Students can use the objects in the containers as props as they give a three-minute presentation about themselves.  (The teacher who provided this idea suggests that you model the activity and encourage creativity by going first -- it's important for them to see you as human too!  She included in her container a wooden spoon because she loves to cook, a jar of dirt because she loves to garden, her son's first cowboy book, a poem she wrote, a rock from Italy because she loves to travel, and so on.)  You'll learn much about each student with this activity, and it will create a bond among students.  As each student gives the presentation, you might write a brief thank-you note that mentions something specific about the presentation so that each student can take home a special note to share with parents.  It might take a few days to give every student the opportunity to share.  -- Valerie Braun