I was lucky enough to be able to observe my aunt (a 6th grade teacher) on multiple occasions. She is definitely what you'd call a master teacher. She has a rapport with her students that is unmatched. She has a passion for her job and never ends. She has creativity seeping out of every pore.
During my college days, I was extremely stressed about what to do on the first day of school. How do you welcome the students into your room? What do you cover first? Second? Third? My aunt was kind enough to let me come observe her ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. Let that sink in for a minute. On her first day of school that year, she let her niece come into her room and take copious notes on every move she made. Like I said, she is a master teacher.
One idea that I found during my observation was the Me Bag. As each student filed into the room that morning for the first time, they were greeted with a white paper bag closed with a clothespin. I loved that it looked like each student was receiving their own special gift!
Clipped on the outside was a note with instructions. They read:
- Fill this bag with 3 things that show who you are.
- All objects have to fit inside the bag.
- Decorate the bag.
- Bring it back tomorrow, ready to share with the class
This was the students' first assignment. It acted as an ice-breaker and a get-to-know-you activity all in one!
But she wasn't done. The inside held supplies that the students would need during the year. A pencil, a spelling notebook, eraser, glue stick, crayons, and stickers to help decorate the bag.
You can see the yellow classroom dollars clipped inside the clothespin. I added those to my students bags so they each started out the year with a little money. They used the clothespin to keep track of the classroom money throughout the year.
The students would take out the supplies and put them away and then would put the bag into their backpack. That night, they would take it home and decorate it. Then they would fill it with 3 items that represented themselves. The next day the students would bring them back. When I had the students present their Me Bags in my room, I did it several different ways. The first year I had all the students present that first day. Honestly it became a little tedious near the end. The rest of the time I had about 5 students present each day and then they took their Me Bags home. It was a nice break during that first week from rules and procedures and it helped me focus more on each student.
I also did a Me Bag about myself so the students could get to know me better.
I would present my bag to the students to show them what to do. The items I choose were:
1. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is one of my absolute favorite books. I love her style and her message inside each of her novels.
2. A die because I love teaching and learning math. I love how the numbers come together and how there are multiple ways to solve a problem.
3. A magnifying glass because I love to discover new things and look at things closely.
The students really loved creating and presenting their Me Bags. It is a fun activity to do during the first week of school. You can grab your FREE Me Bag Labels HERE or by clicking on any picture.