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
How are you getting to know your students this year?