Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's a fun time of a new school year when every teacher focuses on "breaking the ice" and getting to know his or her students. Here are some of fun start of the year activities that Smarty told me about or brought home to work on.


In class, kids broke in groups and folded origami stars. Then they had to write on them something that they all have in common and something that is unique to each of them. Smarty said that her group had trouble finding something in common except that they all go to the same school, eventually they agreed that their favorite dessert is ice cream. Her "unique" feature was that she skipped a grade.
As homework, their teacher gave them a letter above and asked them to write him a note talking about their attitudes towards math. Here is what Smarty wrote, "Dear Mr. W, I love math and I want to learn all the math that I can learn. I really hope that I can learn more than 7th grade curriculum this year. I already passed 7th grade in Khan Academy and got 100% on year-end math test for 7th grade when my previous math teacher let me take it last year. I really need more challenge this year, and I hope that you will be a great teacher for me." I am curious to see how this year will work out for Smarty in math, but she is loving her new teacher so far, and that has not been the case last year, so I am cautiously optimistic.


In class, kids worked in group on "cups project". They needed to build a tower of paper cups with a certain color pattern and without touching cups with their hands. They were given some materials to puzzle together tools for this task. For homework, they received a worksheet where they needed to complete sentences on various topics. One of the questions asked to draw a favorite shape and explain why this shape is a favorite. Smarty draw a blob and said that she likes this shape, because it's curvy and she likes curves. She also answered a question about what kind of teachers she likes by saying that she likes teachers who allow her to work at her pace and offer challenging activities for fast finishers.

English/Social Studies

Smarty's new English/Social Studies teacher also started with a group activity - a classic spaghetti tower to support a marshmallow. Then kids wrote a short essay on how something they did over the summer is related to something they were learning in school last year. Smarty wrote about her visit to an ancient Roman city of Xanten during her trip to Germany, and how she could see a reconstructed Roman amphitheater. Now the first topic of Social Studies for the year is map coordinates, and students are working in class on the Island of Me project where they will draw their own islands with landmarks that represent something that is near and dear to them. I can't wait to see how Smarty's island looks like.

Your Turn

What memorable start of the year activities did your kids tell you about? If you are homeschooling, what are you doing to start a new school year?

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maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Sounds like a great start to the year for Smarty!

Johnny really likes his teacher this year, and he seems pretty happy. He is doing the same start-of-year activities that I saw from Emma in fourth grade (he has a different teacher, but the same school, and our school does teacher teams where the different classes mostly do all the same things).

The girls are liking homeschool. Emma spent at lot of the summer researching different curriculums, so they mostly went right into work. I'm still looking for a good math curriculum for Lily (ordered a new one, but it hasn't arrived yet).

Ticia said...

We usually have a "Not Back to School Day," but this year there were some attitude problems, so we skipped the big thing.
We're actually leaving in a few minutes for our homeschool Not Back to School pool party.

I completely missed (or maybe it hadn't been mentioned before) she went to an ancient Roman city, that would be super cool.