Sunday, August 4, 2013

Building Rapport

I've been trying to become a PIRATE teacher this summer.  The R in PIRATE stands for rapport.  And building that rapport is one of the things we try to do those first few days and weeks of school.

Most of us....dare I say all of us spend those first few days going over rules and procedures.  We try to get our students to be kind to each other and build a classroom community.  But do we spend any time really getting to know our students?  When I taught 2nd and 3rd I could tell you who was new to the school (in K all are new, haha), but I don't know if I could tell you who played on a sports team, liked to go camping, or had a new baby at home.  Dave Burgess in Teach Like a Pirate tells us that building rapport with your students is important.  It is important to building classroom community and to making connections with your students when you are teaching.

He describes several hooks that work only if you know your students. Dave Burgess calls them his what's in it for me hooks.  Capitalizing on student hobbies, being opportunistic, and allowing for student choice can let you get you get your students actively engaged quickly and increase learning.

I have a couple of little games to play with your students.  They are short fun time fillers, or an extended activity that will have your students up and moving.  You can play inside or outside.  Make up your own questions that are specific to your own class and area of the country.

The first game is Stand Up for Friendship.  The game premise is simple.  Ask a question and if the answer is yes, stand up.  You could then talk about the similarities, you could talk about your own similarities.  Use these questions (and make up your own) to make connections with your students.  Tuck away this information to help you create hooks for future lessons

The second game is Walk the Line.  In this game give the students a choice between two things.  For example, Do you like chocolate or vanilla?  Have them stand on either side of a line, then have both sides look at each other and walk to the line.  Now they should be across from someone (if numbers are uneven...don't worry have one person talk to several on the other side of the line).  Have them talk to each other about why they picked the way they did.  Great for getting to know you....but GREAT for practicing conversational skills too.  In Kindergarten that is part of our common core standards (SL.K.1).  The anchor standard for any grade level is Speaking and Listening 1 (Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively).  It is a great way to teach how to talk to others and be polite, how to listen, how to state your opinion while respecting others'.  In Kindergarten teaching students to have conversations can be a tricky thing.    Can't wait for the kids to come!!

How are you getting to know your students this year?


  1. Hey Terri!
    These are fabulous ideas! I am your newest follower!

    Kindergarten Boom Boom

  2. I am grabbing BOTH of these games! Thank you so much!

  3. Easy and meaningful games! thanks for sharing!

    Table Talk with C&C

  4. I love your 2 games. I am reading TLAP this summer and we are on the R - rapport! I downloaded your "Stand Up for Friendship" and I have tried to download the Walk the Line activity, but it isn't working. I would love to have it. My email is THANKS!!