Ask Me About … My Amazing Students!

New year. New grade lev­el. Same class­room filled with same amaz­ing kids from last year (along with sev­er­al love­ly new addi­tions). Just wrapped up the sev­enth day of school and the same ques­tion keeps run­ning through my mind… how did I get so lucky? “Loop­ing” (mov­ing up a grade lev­el) with a class that you absolute­ly adore from the year before is pret­ty much like win­ning the “teacher lot­tery.” Wel­come to anoth­er year of “Teach it For­ward” and a peek into the teach­ing and learn­ing from Room 212!

One of the main chal­lenges and goals in a loop­ing sit­u­a­tion that includes adding a few new stu­dents to the already formed group, is to fig­ure out a way to build and rebuild the com­mu­ni­ty that has already tak­en shape the year before. I searched online, look­ing for fun games and ice-break­er ideas. I asked col­leagues for their best back-to-school, first week team builders. I com­piled my list of must-read pic­ture books for our “class­room book-a-day.” I had plen­ty of fun activ­i­ties to fill those first few days, but I was still try­ing to come up with some­thing spe­cial that might fos­ter more collaboration.

What do you do with an Idea?And then it hap­pened! I was stand­ing at the copi­er on day #2 print­ing stu­dent pho­tos from day #1, and it was as if a giant light bulb explod­ed over my head. See­ing all those smil­ing faces slide through the machine inspired a com­plete­ly new idea that made me feel gid­dy! There was a bit of serendip­i­ty in the air as the next-up, class­room-book-a-day title hap­pened to be “What Do You Do With an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada.

The plan would be to ask stu­dents to think about top­ics, peo­ple, places, basi­cal­ly any­thing they love to talk about. Next, I would give them a name tag design fea­tur­ing “Ask me about….” Once stu­dents fin­ished writ­ing their list, I would tape it to the back­side of their pho­to and lam­i­nate it. And voila! A sim­ple but cre­ative way to do a new greet­ing dur­ing our morn­ing meet­ing.  Stu­dents would part­ner up to exchange their pho­to con­ver­sa­tion cards and use the “Ask me about” lists as con­ver­sa­tion starters.

After shar­ing the idea with my stu­dents, they seemed excit­ed and will­ing to give it a try. Over the years I’ve shared a vari­ety of writ­ing activ­i­ties that involve stu­dents mak­ing lists of top­ics they might like to write about in the future. With­out excep­tion, there have always been kids who strug­gled to gen­er­ate ideas and sat with pen­cil in hand, blank paper star­ing back at them. This time, how­ev­er, the lists came togeth­er in record speed. Maybe it was because I asked them to think about what they want­ed to talk about, rather than write about. Maybe it was because they were eager to share their sum­mer mem­o­ries. Maybe it was because the major­i­ty of the class expe­ri­enced a ton of Joy Write last year and they were more com­fort­able with tak­ing risks. What­ev­er the rea­sons, I was delight­ed with the results. More impor­tant­ly, the kids couldn’t wait to share their pho­to con­ver­sa­tion cards.

I have a feel­ing those “Ask me about” lists will come in handy for some, if not many, of the kids when it comes to writ­ing. I also envi­sion an expan­sion of the idea, with kids cre­at­ing pho­to con­ver­sa­tion cards for their favorite book char­ac­ter friends. I can hard­ly wait to see what Kek (Home of the Brave), Ada (The War That Saved My Life), Mia (Front Desk) or Peter (Pax) might add to their “Ask me about” lists.

Home of the Brave, The War That Saved My Life, Front Desk, Pax

And to top it off, my teacher heart was filled with pride and joy to see so many kids add book relat­ed top­ics to their “Ask me about…” lists! Here is a sam­pling of what we’ll be talk­ing about in Room 212 in the days to come

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4 years ago

Love this idea. That Mrs. Rome made the list tells us a great deal. .

4 years ago

What a won­der­ful ice-break­er to use with any age group includ­ing senior citizens!

Anne Redfern
Anne Redfern
4 years ago

What a fab­u­lous idea!! I am going to share this with some of my teach­ers. It is a great way that new stu­dents and every stu­dent can feel includ­ed. You are an awe­some edu­ca­tor and spe­cial friend❣✏

Sally Goddard
Sally Goddard
4 years ago

Your pas­sion and ener­gy is con­ta­gious. Your stu­dents have cer­tain­ly won the lot­tery too!