First meeting with students in English

It is the start of a new semester and we are planning the first meeting with our students. Teachers are always anxious to get to know their students, their plans, expectations and their level of proficiency and how they did the last year of middle school. Some teachers I know manage to learn all the names during that first day. Me, I tend to need more time to learn 30 names, but this year I will certainly try my best.

Lesson plan

  1. In groups of 4 number each student. Student 1 is time taker, student 2 makes sure everyone is on task, student 3 writes the notes and student 4 has to make sure everyone in the group is positive and nice to each other.
  2.  The student who took longest to get to school starts, 1,5 min each to share some facts about yourself. Hint: hobbies, siblings favorite tv shows.
  3. 2 minutes each to come up with 2 things you liked in English class last year and 1 thing you hope to do this year
  4. The group makes a list of their favorite English class activities
  5. Books, short stories, and movies. Use post-it notes and write down all the novels, short stories and books you covered in middle school. Make a list from the group and write down how many you share.
  6. Make a short video in your group where each of you talks about bullet points 2-5. Use a mobile phone from your group. Be sure to say your name and mention something that is unique about yourself. This will help me remember your name. Remember this is for the teacher to see only, not to be shared in the class.
  7. Look at our school’s vision, found in Norwegian here. How does this apply to you? How does this apply to this class?
  8. Using these visions as an example (in Norwegian), make a shared vision for your group. Write it down and include an explanation for your choice.
  9. Code of collaboration, the groups discuss and decide on a code of collaboration. Write down everything you think is important and make a list where you sort it according to importance. Examples of how this could look: Treat each other with kindness, help one another when we see they need help, respect each other’s opinions, be prepared.
  10. Parking lot. Introducing the parking lot in class.  The parking lot is a chart that helps the teacher determine what is on the students’ minds.  It includes sections on what is working well; what needs to be changed; what questions the students have; and what have they learned. See the example below. The students need post-it notes to be able to use this. A Parking Lot should be posted in the room at all times; students can place post-its on the chart anonymously at any time; teachers can ask students to post as they leave the class or trying a new structure. Best advice is to place the Parking Lot near the door so students can place a comment or read the comments at the end of class.
  11. End of class. Each time we work in groups we need to thank each other and say goodbye to each member of the group. All the groups get a sheet of paper for each student. Take turns wrting on the note a personal letter to each student in your group. It could look something like this: Hi Anna, I really enjoyed working with you today because you did such a good job in ………….. That really made a difference. I hope to work together with you soon. Shake hands and wish each other a good afternoon and see you tomorrow!

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