Thursday, January 21, 2016


At the beginning of a new school year or semester, do your students know the names of their classmates? To find out, ask your students if they can name everyone's first name. Then ask if they can name their last name too. If they don't know their classmates' names, then it's safe to assume they know very little other information about their classmates.

I asked my students the above questions and only one student was brave enough to try to name everyone in the class, although he did say he was unsure about many of the last names.  He started in the front row and after he said the student's name, the student then had to (1) stand-up, (yes, I asked them to stand for a semi-formal introduction of themselves) and (2) tell us something interesting about themselves. It is always interesting to me to hear what the students want to share about themselves. It gives me a hint to what is important to me.  

This was my Spanish 4 class so they completed all of the activities in Spanish. There are 27 students in the class and this part of the ice-breaker lasted more than 20 minutes.

Then I gave each person a quarter slip of paper and instructed them to write their name on the paper, and then to the 4 questions pictured above.  
For those that need a translation, the sentences/questions in the box are:
1. A food that you never want to eat
2. The vacation of your dreams
3. Someone with whom you want to eat a meal
4. What do you want to do after graduating (from PHS).

The students handed in their papers face down and then I randomly picked 6 of the papers and wrote the names on the board.  The students wrote 1-6 in their notebooks. I read the answers on the first paper and students looked at the list and choose a person that they thought wrote the answer from the bank of students' names.

After I had read the information on the first 6 papers, we went over the answers and the students checked their own papers.  
Scoring - 6/6 correct - 8 pts
              5/6 correct - 5 pts
              4/6 correct - 4 pts
              3/6 correct - 3 pts
              2/6 correct - 2 pts
              1/6 correct - 1 pt

We proceeded to the second and third round before we had to stop because we ran out of time.  

I liked this activity because:
- the information students had to provide was different than the typical questions such as do you have a pet?, do you play a sport? what is your hobby? etc.  
- it turned into a backdoor review of foods with the focus not specifically on the words but rather on guessing which person had written the answer
- it provided me with information about the students for use in future classes
- the students learned their classmates' names and a little information about them

Next time, I might consider switching out one of the questions for: 
Of what are you afraid? or...anything that comes to mind on that particular day.

Can you tell I'm having a good time getting to know my new students?  :-) 

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