First Day Assignment (English)

Discussion in 'High School' started by EngTeacher15, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Jul 12, 2009

    I'm looking for a new first day assignment/activity. I am teaching 9th grade English regular and honors, and then 10th grade regular English. I want to do a more fun activity and then I also want to have a writing assignment. I don't want to do the "write a page about yourself" thing because that gets boring (for them and for me). I'd like to get to know them, but I also want to get a feel of their writing capabilities. Any ideas?
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jul 12, 2009

    I go over the course syllabus, we play a few games, I introduce a few vocabulary words, and then have them write a summary of what we did in class for homework.

    I added a Beach Ball game this year that they loved: get a small beach ball (I actually have a tiny one that worked well) and write the numbers 1-75 on it in Sharpie. Toss it to a student and have them tell you the number under their right thumb - then you ask them a question from a list; things like "what's the worst song of all time?" I can't remember what else is on there, and I don't seem to have it on my home computer, unfortunately.
     
  4. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 12, 2009

    I got this idea from Jeff Anderson (I think), who wrote Mechanically Inclined. Instead of telling the kids what to write about, simply give them a one-word topic and tell them they need to write for 10 minutes straight. There does not need to be an connectedness between paragraphs and spelling and grammar is of no concern. The idea is to just have them writing! With 5th graders, I would get 2 pages of writing.

    Imagine writing the word "sports." One student may write a autobiographical narrative of his sports experiences, another student may write about tee-ball as a kid, then skip to the WNBA, and back to earning a varsity letter. Another student may write about sexism in the broadcasting and viewership of sports. It's not boring for you to read, and they love to write.

    Later, you can go back to these drafts and have the students pick out pieces to focus on and create a polished version. This is what I am planning on doing with my 7th and 8th graders (using workshop model).
     
  5. ambritlit

    ambritlit Companion

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    Jul 14, 2009

    "You are being awarded a superpower. Would you rather have the ability to fly or to become invisible? Explain the reasoning for your choice."

    I used this one for a bell-ringer and they loved it. They'll tell you all sorts of things about themselves as they explain their choice.
     
  6. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Jul 17, 2009

    I have a packet of interesting pictures meant to be used as story-starter/ idea generators-- all kinds of interesting and unique shots, with and without people in them. I'm thinking of placing them all over the room and asking a series of questions, each one requiring a student to choose a picture as an answer and explain their choice in a paragrph. For example, which picture best represents your life right now? Why? Which picture represents your feelings about this class? Why? Which picture reminds you of someone important to you? Why? (I need to think for awhile about what questions I will actually use, but one can be creative with these.) I think it will be interesting to not only see how they express themselves in writing, but also the way they think-- which think very literally, which are more abstract.
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2009

    Ms. H, that's a great idea!

    I organize my room in to four or five pods of desks with each pod labeled A - D (or E). Then I give them a survey much like those found on myspace that ask questions like "how many siblings do you have", "if you could live anywhere where would you live", etc., but they are all multiple choice.

    Once the kids have done the survey by themselves, we go over the answers, and they move to the pod with their answer. So if they answered A to question 1, they move to pod A. Then when we answer question 2, if they said "C" they move to pod C. It's a great way for them to see what they have in common with each other and get to know each other.

    Then I have them do a writing assignment about the "typical" 11th grader at our school based on their responses telling me how they are similar to or different from that "typical" student.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2009

    How about having them take a stand on a issue that's likely to be important to them.

    For example, have them write an essay on why parents should or shouldn't have access to the Facebook accounts of minors.
     
  9. AMB

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    Jul 29, 2009

    I did the "Where I'm From" poem http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html
    where we looked at the poem together, discussed it, I modeled brainstorming and writing it, and then they wrote their own poems or narratives. They loved it and came up with some pretty good stuff.
     
  10. AMB

    AMB Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2009

    I love the beach ball idea. I've been struggling to think of something to do with my middle school reading kiddos that first day since I have only taught high school so far and what I did there (the Where I'm From activity) doesn't work so well for Reading class or for middle schoolers. I'll definitely work some variation of that activity in, thanks!

    I like the pod idea too. Thanks for the ideas!
     
  11. scuttle28

    scuttle28 New Member

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    Aug 1, 2009

    I use the "Where I'm from" poem as well. I've also used the snowball idea (each student writes a question from a list you give them on a sheet of paper, balls it up, and throw them around the room for a minute or two; when time is up, the students open the paper they are holding or that is next to them and answer the questions out loud). In years past, I've had them interview each other and create a human interest article (a couple of paragraphs) about that person. I have both the questions and the interview handout on my computer if anyone is interested.
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 2, 2009

    Okay, I may be way off base here, but I was thinking that I would just give out and go over my syllabus and then have them fill out an information sheet. Maybe play some teambuilding games (three truths and a lie, etc.) That will probably take the entire 50 minutes. I'm just not thinking I'll have time for them to do any major writing, since students will be coming in and out as their schedules are changed or as they are adding, but I'll check with the others in my department to see what they usually do.
     
  13. Iowa_Teacher

    Iowa_Teacher Rookie

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    Aug 3, 2009

    I love this idea---I think I'll have them "shoot the basket" and toss them there rather than at each other (I can see that getting ugly with my kids) and then toss them out to people! Thanks!
     
  14. Chanda

    Chanda New Member

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    Sep 1, 2009

    Wow, everyone has such interesting ideas! I spend the first day (and usually a couple after that) just reinforcing the classroom rules and expectations... My first real project is going to be a mandala activity, I think, that incorporates art and symbols with the students writing about it when they're finished. Something like that... :D
     

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