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Welcome Back To School

Before the start of every school year teachers browse for lessons or small projects to do with their students in between housekeeping, establishing routines, distributing a thousand school forms, and of course, administering all those placement tests. Teachers know it is critical that students not only learn about new classroom rules and routines quickly, but that they learn to work together and get along. To do that, they have to get to know one another.

The All About Me project is a classic. It’s one way for teachers to learn about their new crop of scholars while the students express themselves creatively through sharing about their families and their interests with posters, essays, and collages. All About Me is assigned to the wee ones, high school seniors, and everyone in between with the goal of facilitating introductions, giving students ice-breakers with which to start new friendships, and breaking down social barriers in addition to hitting Social Studies benchmarks.

Teacher Woes

With daily writing requirements being a critical part of the Common Core, teachers fret or become disappointed when the completed project shows too little original writing from the student. Teachers also want to avoid the project becoming an example of the parents’ best work, instead a reflection of the child’s. In some cases, teachers may even get a recycled project the student’s older brother or sister handed in the year before.

Parent Woes

Another concern with this project can be the push-back from parents who are apprehensive about using old family photos and potentially damaging them or losing them altogether. Budget-conscious families also have difficulty paying for additional school items such as expensive posterboard and craft supplies. Due to second jobs or odd work schedules, some families may not be able to offer the student much help at home with the traditional All About Me project, which may isolate the student even further come show-and-tell time.

Put An Innovative Twist On The Classic

Done in the traditional way, the All About Me project can be busy work, isolating, boring, and costly. With Biteslide, an innovative tool turns a tired assignment into collaborative project with curricular ties to Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math. Here’s how:

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Pair your students, send them to Biteslide.com, and take the role of facilitator. After a quick demo lesson, students will easily take to creating FREE lively slidebooks–digital scrapbooks with beautiful backgrounds and stickers in addition to the images, video clips, and audio files they can quickly and easily upload from Biteslide’s built-in Google search and drop feature. They will also be able to upload their own files, eliminating parents’ worries about ruining family photos or archives.

Get Them Writing

The Common Core Anchor Standards demand that students “make a routine out of writing and that the activity itself be done for a variety of purposes including offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events.” Biteslide supports loads of text, so students can journal, free write, caption, and pop-out their thoughts to seamlessly connect their writing to images, audio files, and video files. Initially, have students create a short plan for what they would like to include in their slidebooks prior to starting their work–a peer conversation guide. This will get them talking and getting to know one another in addition to establishing the expectation of daily writing.

Show And Tell

Once students have completed their slidebooks on Biteslide, have pairs of students introduce one another while projecting their slidebooks, rather than having everyone take a turn and talking to a screen. Some presentation points might include: This is my friend ____. (1) I learned that my friend ___ and I have ___ in common. (2) I learned that we are both the youngest in our family. (3) My new friend ___ is a cool person because _______. While students introduce one another to the class, designate yourself as the recorder and jot down similarities, differences, and interesting points about your students. You may even want to jot down a quote for each student.

Show And Teach

The students’ presentations and your notes will be everything you need to showcase this project. There’s nothing more welcoming to a school visitor than a colorful, meaningful bulletin board. It can also be a source of great pride to the class who created it, but did you know it could also be your first math lesson of the year? Here are some ideas for math lessons taken directly from your All About Me Biteslide.com project:

  1. 1) Venn diagrams: Ask students to find common and uncommon elements between students or groups of students, such as boys and girls.
  2. 2) Graphs and Charts: Teach percent with the data being displayed.
  3. 3) Probability. Expose students to the concept of probability using themselves rather than two dice.

Sit Back And Enjoy

You now have:

  • A solid team-building activity to do with your students
  • Influenced the beginnings of school friendships
  • Students who can work together and get along
  • Your first bulletin board
  • Taught to Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies standards
  • Gotten nods from your principal
  • Integrated these curricula effortlessly with technology

Biteslide – not bad for the first week of school.

If you’re not already registered with Biteslide, register now for your free teacher account.