Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Play-Doh on the First Day of School - An Alternative to "What Did I Do This Summer?"

Like most teachers, I have a love/hate relationship with the first day of school. I love getting back into my job/calling/mission. Teaching really completes me as a person. But then it's also like...I have a job again, and summer's over, and I can't go running , hike, watch Netflix all day.

Then there's always the question of what to do on that first day. At the secondary level many teachers feel obligated somehow to spend the class period reading every word in their disclosure, reading all the classroom rules, basically...making the students' first exposure to their class one of the most boring days they'll have all year in that class.

A lot of teachers have students write or present something about "What I did this summer"...which is better, but can also take up a lot of time. If I have 25 students, hearing or reading about all that they did running, hiking, Netflixing -- that eventually becomes nearly as boring as devoting the entire class period to your rules. In reality, as a secondary teacher, I'll have right around 200 students -- at which point any piece of writing that is more than a post card becomes miserable after a few class periods.

I prefer to get a little bit of fun in the mix, while still serving the needs that we have as teachers. Truthfully, I do want my students to get some of my disclosure statement (and depending on your admin, you may be required to read every word of that document in that first week of school at some point), I want them to know my personal classroom rules...but I also want to start establishing classroom climate, and I want to start them on my content. My content is important, I love it, I want them to love it too.

 One of the ways I engage students on the first day of school is with Play-Doh. I know a lot of teachers (even secondary teachers) use Play-Doh already, including Teach Like a PIRATE Captain Dave Burgess. A chapter in my own book Play Like a PIRATE: Engage Students with Toys, Games, and Comics is about Play-Doh. And you should buy it and read it. Buy ten copies even. One hundred. I won't even be mad.

Specifically for the first day of school, this is what I'd do with Play-Doh:

Have students seated in groups of four, and each with a chunk of Play-Doh. They don't need a full-sized can, just enough to work with. (aside: the ideal Play-Doh purchase for most teachers is the 15-tiny-can Party Bag pictured below -- it's $12 on Amazon, but it's right around $5 at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.) Seated in groups, they'll be watching what the other kids at their table are making, asking questions about it, being interested in their creations, much more than if you were having them all take turns reading their statements about what they did over the summer. It will be an ice-breaker for them, which you want as much as an ice-breaker for you. At the end of each round, you can ask for a few kids to volunteer what they made, and build them up that way, starting to mold (ahhhhh, get it? ahhhh) your classroom climate into what you want it to be for the school year.

The beauty of Play-Doh, besides the smell, texture, flavor, and color, is the quick and easy sculptability of it. (sculptability: word? not a word? you decide!) You don't want them to spend thirty minutes on a beautiful creation, you want them to spend three minutes. Not just a single prompt, but six. You want the sculpting prompts to be a mix of what you want them to get that first day in your class: some classroom rules, some content, some classroom climate, some get-to-know-you. Here are ten that I've used on the first day of school:


  • What were you doing one week ago today?
  • If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
  • What was the best day of your summer?
  • What's one rule every student should follow?
  • What does leadership look like?
  • What's the most important invention of the last one hundred years?
  • If you were going to eat one food for every meal for a month, what would it be?
  • If you could have one super power, what would it be?
  • What's a right you have as an American?
  • What's one thing you would change about the United States?
That's it. Two or three minutes per question, they share at their tables, you have a few kids share their answers out to the whole class. I'm a history teacher, so a few of the questions start them thinking about rights, leadership, the current state of things in the United States. Some of it looking back at history content they should already know, some of it is looking ahead to what we'll be talking about during the school year. If I taught language arts, music, science, psychology, I'd put different prompts in there. It gives kids a chance to express themselves, it lets them get to know each other, and it helps ease the transition from their running a marathon Netflix summer to the classroom.

A way to gamify this a bit more: having six prompts and then rolling having a single student roll a jumbo die (whether or not you do it for this, having inflatable jumbo dice on hand is a great idea). The student rolls a 4, so the entire class sculpts prompt 4, Sculpt the President's Hairstyle. You'll repeat this 4 times; half of the prompts will be about your class content, the other half just fun or silly or get to know you things. Rolling the die makes it a little more exciting for them, and more interesting for you because you're getting slightly different answers in each class period. You want the entire activity to be about 20 minutes, so they don't get bored with it, and you're able to move on to other things in your class period.   

If you're looking for more ideas about using Play-Doh, LEGO, Action Figures, Superheroes...a lot of other stuff in the classroom, check out Play Like a Pirate: Engage Students with Toys, Games, and Comics. It's at Barnes and Noble, it's at Amazon, it's Everywhere Fine Books Are Sold. But mostly Barnes and Noble and Amazon. 



Subscribe to the Play Like a PIRATE Newsletter!

* indicates required
Email Format

49 comments:

  1. Nice post. Thanks for sharing! I want people to know just how good this information is in your article. It’s interesting content and Great work.
    Thanks & Regards,
    VRIT Professionals,
    No.1 Leading Web Designing Training Institute In Chennai.

    And also those who are looking for
    Web Designing Training Institute in Chennai
    SEO Training Institute in Chennai
    Photoshop Training Institute in Chennai
    PHP & Mysql Training Institute in Chennai
    Android Training Institute in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have to say that the mosquito is one of the annoying insects that spread especially in the summer and bites the skin and cause itching and skin allergies because they feed on blood and hate light so spread in dark places, especially at night the company eliminates the mosquito through the use of effective spraying pesticides or the use of tablets That do not cause harm to individuals or to the surrounding environment.
    شركة مكافحة حشرات
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالاحساء
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing the best information and suggestions, I love your content, and they are very nice and very useful to us. If you are looking for the best card games for adults, then visit Blocker Board Games. I appreciate the work you have put into this.

    ReplyDelete



  4. You can find your desire Escorts Service in Kolkata in your area with our service. Call Girls in Haridwar you can get the service of amazing escorts here. So what are you seated limited for? Come to us and get an illustrious desire, with you’ve asked for an escort. Check our other services...
    Russian Call Girls in Gurgaon
    Housewife Escorts in Agra
    Hi Profile Call Girls in Haridwar
    Call Girls in Mahipalpur

    ReplyDelete
  5. you can find some special partner for you. Just call us and ask for a Call Girls in Faridabad
    If you are all alone in the big city with nothing to do or no friends to accompany you can call us any time for more details. Check our other services...
    Female Escorts in Faridabad
    Russian Escorts in Faridabad
    Call Girls in Agra
    Escorts Service in Agra

    ReplyDelete

  6. I have been reading for the past two days about your blogs and topics, still on fetching! Wondering about your words on each line was massively effective. Techno-based information has been fetched in each of your topics. Sure it will enhance and fill the queries of the public needs. Feeling so glad about your article. Thanks…!
    best software testing training in chennai
    best software testing training institute in chennai with placement
    software testing training
    courses

    software testing training and placement
    software testing training online
    software testing class
    software testing classes in chennai
    best software testing courses in chennai
    automation testing courses in chennai

    ReplyDelete
  7. A cleaning company in Al-Ahsa Corner of Development grants a public cleaning benefit in response to the will of the large number of customers, it is known that there are a large number of housewives who do not have the ability to sterilize their house or any place they own themselves, just as the female who do the cleaning do not get the required result in Cleanliness at the hands of classic methods, that is why we facilitate all this and provide a comprehensive cleaning manufacturer by our company Al-Ahsa Cleaning Company at the earliest time, with the smallest burden and the lowest price.
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف مكيفات بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
    شركة تنظيف مكيفات بالاحساء
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالاحساء
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالاحساء
    https://www.rukn-altatawer.com/

    ReplyDelete
  8. You write this post very carefully I think, which is easily understandable to me. Not only this, but another post is also good. As a newbie, this info is really helpful for me. Thanks to you. share more details.
    Ai & Artificial Intelligence Course in Chennai
    PHP Training in Chennai
    Ethical Hacking Course in Chennai Blue Prism Training in Chennai
    UiPath Training in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  9. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has propelled more programming architects, information scientists, and different experts to investigate the plausibility of a vocation in machine learning. Notwithstanding, a few newcomers will in general spotlight a lot on hypothesis and insufficient on commonsense application. machine learning projects for final year In case you will succeed, you have to begin building machine learning projects in the near future.

    Projects assist you with improving your applied ML skills rapidly while allowing you to investigate an intriguing point. Furthermore, you can include projects into your portfolio, making it simpler to get a vocation, discover cool profession openings, and Final Year Project Centers in Chennai even arrange a more significant compensation.


    Data analytics is the study of dissecting crude data so as to make decisions about that data. Data analytics advances and procedures are generally utilized in business ventures to empower associations to settle on progressively Python Training in Chennai educated business choices. In the present worldwide commercial center, it isn't sufficient to assemble data and do the math; you should realize how to apply that data to genuine situations such that will affect conduct. In the program you will initially gain proficiency with the specialized skills, including R and Python dialects most usually utilized in data analytics programming and usage; Python Training in Chennai at that point center around the commonsense application, in view of genuine business issues in a scope of industry segments, for example, wellbeing, promoting and account.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Chào các bạn, nếu các bạn đang có nhu cầu tham khảo đặt vé máy bay hà nội phú quốc và các hành trình bay nội địa trực tuyến thì có thể tham khảo website Aivivu nhà mình. Aivivu là đại lý cấp 1 của các hãng hàng không trong nước: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines…Bên cạnh đó, Aivivu cũng cung cấp vé máy bay giá rẻ của nhiều hãng hàng không quốc tế như Eva Air, Korean Air, China Airlines, Air Asia.v.v. Để cập nhật tin tức khuyến mại mới nhất, mua vé, đổi vé máy bay nhanh nhất, bạn có thể gọi Aivivu theo Hotline: 1900 6695.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was following your blog regularly and this one is very interesting and knowledge attaining. Great effort ahead. you can also reach us for web development company in chennai website design company in chennai

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very interesting blog. Many blogs I see these days do not really provide anything that attracts others, but believe me the way you interact is literally awesome.You can also check my articles as well.

    Security Guard License
    Ontario Security License
    Security License Ontario
    Security License

    Thank you..

    ReplyDelete
  13. This blog was really good formatting, thanks for sharing with us. Visit Ogen Infosystem for professional website designing and digital marketing services at good price.
    Website Designing Company in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  14. I got what you mean , a debt of gratitude is in order for posting .Woh I am cheerful to discover this site through google.
    Cloud Based Web Hosting

    ReplyDelete
  15. Water bodies are the main source of transportation for international freight forwarding. Due to this, sea freight company

    in Delhi,
    Freight Forwarder in Vietnam
    Sea Freight Company in Delhi
    Best freight forwarders in india
    freight forwarders in india

    ReplyDelete
  16. his is another best instance to convey more about the science how it helps in decision-making using available details or information. data science course syllabus

    ReplyDelete
  17. Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd., is an Indian multinational company that provides enterprise resource planning software. It is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka India.
    tally training in chennai

    hadoop training in chennai

    sap training in chennai

    oracle training in chennai

    angular js training in chennai

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for posting the best information and the blog is very informative.Data science course in Faridabad

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for posting the best information and the blog is very helpful.Data science course in Varanasi

    ReplyDelete
  20. Try not to burn through your time in getting Dwarka accompanies

    Visit: Escorts in Dwarka


    Top Low-Cost Call Girls in Dwarka.

    Get Services: Call Girls in Dwarka


    Phenomenal Lavish escorts administration in Gurgaon on your offer

    Go With: Escorts in Gurgaon


    Prominent young ladies in Gurgaon let you experience exotic euphoria past your experience

    Website: Call Girls in Gurgaon


    Hot call young ladies for wild evenings in Gurgaon

    Website: Call Girls in Gurgaon


    Our Escorts: Beauties Like Models

    Visit:Call Girls in Haridwar


    Premium and top-class Haridwar Escorts Agency!

    Go With: Call Girls in Haridwar

    ReplyDelete
  21. i am glad to discover this page : i have to thank you for the time i spent on this especially great reading !! i really liked each part and also bookmarked you for new information on your site.
    cyber security training in bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  22. i am glad to discover this page : i have to thank you for the time i spent on this especially great reading !! i really liked each part and also bookmarked you for new information on your site.
    cyber security training in bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  23. I want to leave a little comment to support and wish you the best of luck.we wish you the best of luck in all your blogging enedevors.
    data analytics courses in bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  24. If you don"t mind proceed with this extraordinary work and I anticipate a greater amount of your magnificent blog entries

    digital marketing courses in hyderabad with placement

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks a lot pertaining to putting up a real wonderful content! I ran across your web site ideal for our requires. Its content has amazing along with valuable blogposts. Carry on the excellent operate!
    opswarfare

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.
    business analytics course

    ReplyDelete
  27. Máy tính Hải long là địa chỉ bán máy tính cũ uy tín chất lượng, có đội ngũ tư vấn chuyên sâu, am hiểu tường tận về từng chi tiết của máy tính. Đặc biệt, thời gian bảo hành cũng như chính sách đổi trả, không kém việc bạn mua máy mới 100% tại các siêu thị lớn.
    Địa chỉ: Số 9 ngách 109 ngõ 69a Hoàng Văn Thái, Thanh Xuân, Hà Nội
    Điện thoại: 0972 105 943

    ReplyDelete
  28. I really got a lot of information from your site. I want to help you too.
    I hope you can visit my blog and get some good information like me.부산오피

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am glad to discover this page. I have to thank you for the time I spent on this especially great reading !! I really liked each part and also bookmarked you for new information on your site.
    Data Science Training in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  30. I want to leave a little comment to support and wish you the best of luck.we wish you the best of luck in all your blogging enedevors.
    aws training in hyderabad

    ReplyDelete