Getting to Know Each Other

Take five to ten minutes several times during the first two weeks to engage students in activities that help them get to know each other. These activities also provide ways to practice active listening, expressing feelings, and cooperation. Here are some suggestions for ways to get to know each other:

  1. What Do We Have in Common?
    • Give each student a sheet that has three columns and a place for three students' names.
    • Then ask students to pair up with someone they don't know well or use grouping cards to place people in pairs.
    • Give each pair two minutes to write down all the similarities they can think of (physical characteristics, family stuff, things they both do, possessions they both own, etc.)
    • Then ask students to pair up two more times repeating the process.
    • At the end of the activity, ask: “What surprised you about what you discovered you had in common with someone else? How many similarities did you find the first time? The last time? Did it get easier for anyone? Why?”
    • Point out that when we are having a disagreement or having trouble working together, it's especially important to remember what we have in common.

  2. Finding Out About Who We Are
    • Create an interview sheet, have students find a partner, and choose a question that interests both of them.
    • Have them interview each other and jot down their partner's name and something you want to remember that their partner said.
    • Give them a few minutes and then have them find a new partner.
    • You could end this activity by asking students what they learned about each other.
    • Use the following questions:
      • Describe your family.
      • What is something funny, weird, unusual, or special about one person in your family?
      • What's one place you would like to visit in your lifetime? Why do you want to go there?
      • What's your favorite TV show and why do you like to watch this show?
      • If you had to eat the same meal everyday for a month, what would it be?
      • What's one thing you would like to change about your neighborhood that would make it a better place to live?
      • What worries you the most about the world you live in today?
      • Name one thing you could teach someone else how to make or how to do?
      • What's your favorite holiday of the year? What makes this holiday your favorite?
      • What's one thing that you would like to change about your school that would make it a better place for you?

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Celebrate the Festival of Lights in your classroom! Hanukkah begins at sundown December 6.

December Calendar of Events
December is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: World AIDS Day (12/1), International Volunteer Day (12/6), Hanukkah (begins at sundown 12/6), Handwashing Awareness Week (12/6-12), Computer Science Education Week (12/7-13), Human Rights Day (12/10), Winter Solstice (12/22), Christmas (12/25), Kwanzaa (begins 12/26), Visit the Zoo Day (12/27), and New Year's Eve (12/31). Plus, celebrate Bingo's Birthday Month, Universal Human Rights Month, and Write to a Friend Month all December long!

Hour of Code
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Celebrate Computer Science Education Week from December 7-13, 2015 with our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, or the Hour of Code resources provided by Code.org®

Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and the environment. Enjoy!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.