Starting the Year Right

The beginning of the school year fills us all (parents, teachers, and students alike) with anxiety and excitement.  We all come at the new year with lots of expectations. That first day can be an adventure as we try to teach classroom rules and routines.

Video Stories are a great way to start everyone off with their best foot forward.  I make a Video Story on the first day of the students demonstrating the classroom rules and routines.  Our rules are usually “cool hands, cool feet, cool words,” and the students demonstrate what each of those look like in real life.  My returning students are eager to demonstrate how to be cool.  The new students are trying to show that they can be cool too, and everyone ends up exuding coolness all day.  I carry my camera with me throughout the whole first day, catching the students showing off their cool factor.  I show them the little clip on the camera screen, and they start to shine. Not only are they following the rules, but they’re super excited about it and so intensely proud of themselves.

When I have asked “What are cool words to our friends?” I’ve received a variety of thoughtful and inspiring responses, such as “I want to work this out.” “I’m sorry.”  “I forgive you.”  “I want to help you.” “Will you be my friend?”  “You’re cool.”  When I asked “What are cool words to the teachers?” I heard, “Ok. I’ll get to work.”  “I can do this.” “I can help.”  I don’t think I would have gotten such quality answers without the motivation of being on camera.  Then as we watched the Video Story together, the students internalized the classroom rules and routines as their own, not just something the teacher made up.

We also made a Video Story about them introducing themselves to the class, talking about what they like and don’t like, what they’re good at, all about their family, etc. This is such a motivating language activity, and even if I’m needing to prompt them to reach that next level of language, I can edit it out in the Video Story, so they see themselves making introductions and interacting with friends independently and confidently. For more information on using Video Stories to build language and social skills, check out the resources on the new ilovevideostories.com site.

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