Yep. You read that right. This year I am NOT going over the syllabus on the first day. I just ain’t doin’ it! In my classroom, I am rarely at the front of the room talking at my students because I believe wholeheartedly that those doing the talking are the ones doing the learning. So most of the time, I create lessons that thrive on student collaboration. Which led me to wonder, why was I not establishing this type of learning atmosphere from the get go?
From this line of thinking, I came up with a solution and I am so excited with how it turned out. This year, my students will enter my classroom and become TEAM MATES as they complete the Biology Bonanza! My desire more than anything is for each of my students to be known in my classroom and the Biology Bonanza will create a perfect opportunity for my students to get to know their classmates in a non-threatening, relaxed environment.
Just so you know, y’all I LOVE science. Especially Biology. I think it is so cool and I want to portray this passion to my students. So in addition to breaking the ice, I wanted to give students a preview of the amazing things we will be encountering and exploring this year. Throughout the six stations that make up the Biology Bonanza, students will search for organisms hidden in plain sight, follow a white blood cell on a high speed chase, get to know a few scientists, decipher between true and false facts, research the field of biology, and extract DNA from a strawberry. I love that this year, my students are going to get a first hand glance at the year through a series of engaging activities. (I just know they are going to love the DNA extraction!)
So if you’re ready to ditch the syllabus, I encourage you to check out this amazing resource! Start the year off by setting the tone you want for the entire year. And don’t be afraid to change it up! Even if the Biology Bonanza isn’t for you, I encourage you to really think about the type of classroom atmosphere you want to create, and decide now to start establishing it from day one.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how to mix up the first day of school! Leave your ideas in the comments.
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