Long after the other classes wrapped up their discussions about expectations and procedures, we were still at it on day six. I know that if we do not learn and practice our procedures and get to know the teacher (That's me!), the rest of our year will never run as smoothly as it could.
I think of those teacher movies where the new teacher positively transforms the class that no one wants - the gangsters, the weirdos, the sweathogs - by establishing relationships and clear expectations. I have been before 23 students - far from gangsters, weirdos, or sweathogs - for seven days now, and most of our time has been spent on doing the same things.
In the slide show above, you can see some of our newest Hoggatteers, actively mirroring one another. The idea of this Mirror, Mirror game is to lead the other person and not to stump them. I've stressed to the class the concept that says a good leader is not just the person out front, outrunning the rest of the field, but that a good leader brings along followers. The Mirror, Mirror activity is an excellent one to make this point.
When you see the beads in another of those photos, you're looking at them in their colored form. In reality, I gave students white beads on strings for bracelets, telling them that the white beads represented a blank slate - like a blank sheet of paper, waiting for a story or a letter to be written on it. The greatest things in life are more likely waiting for my fourth graders in the future. I used the Latin phrase, Erudito Est Potentia, meaning "Imagine Your Potential," and I asked students to do just that. Like a sports star, I wanted them to visualize their goals. When the kids went to recess, they discovered on their own that the beads changed color in the ultra-violet light. Those beads had great potential after all!