It takes all types

13 Sep

There’s a lot to learn when you start middle school so we, like most middle schools, guide the new 6th graders gently. I won’t even start touching anything remotely curricular until sometime next week.

It doesn’t mean we are just goofing around. Today we learned how to write an email to a teacher. Here were my tips:

I then asked my students to send me an email telling me something fun or interesting about themselves. I promised I would write back. I should mention here that I have 6 classes of 30+ students. By the end of the day, I’d responded to almost two classes. I discovered some expected, and some unexpected facts about my new students.

  • Lots play sports, but one student does acrobatics
  • One student likes to stay up late
  • Several are worried about how much homework they’ll have
  • One likes to bake
  • A girl likes heavy metal, especially Queen and Metallica
  • A few speak more than one language; Many speak a language other than English at home.
  • Pets so far include: dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and one axolotl
  • A few have lived outside the US; many have visited outside the US
  • There are many artists, and one needle felter
  • One person prefers the outdoors and
  • One student read for  7 hours and 23 minutes!
  • Another is part of the lgbtq+ community
  • At least one is left-handed
  • One is a pescatarian
  • Several love pasta
  • Several others love pizza
  • One person called herself “the grammar police”

It’s a lot of work to reply to each email, but it is totally worth it. I love seeing the diversity of their interests.

11 Responses to “It takes all types”

  1. Fran McCrackin September 13, 2022 at 5:41 am #

    I never taught students this old, but this lesson seems genius. I enjoyed your list of discoveries about your new students. But I am also thinking what a good precedent for communication you are setting. Hopefully, these your students will grow into people who aren’t afraid to contact a professor for needed help in college, or seek out a mentor…

    • Adrienne September 13, 2022 at 5:43 am #

      That’s exactly why I do it.

  2. Anonymous September 13, 2022 at 6:21 am #

    What a great way to connect with your students and learn about their outside activities. Thanks for taking the time as I’ve learned many teachers don’t take or say they have the time but it is an important step to having a successful year.

    • Adrienne September 13, 2022 at 6:27 am #

      It also helps with learning the 200+ names!

  3. Fran Haley September 13, 2022 at 6:22 am #

    What a collective wealth you have in your room! The true art of teaching lies, I think, in recognizing it it, harnessing it, and opening doors and windows wide for growth, as you are doing here. So many educators don’t realize how their own deficit mindsets stunt the students. An example at the elementary level being frustration that an English language learner is performing far below benchmarks on reading skills…but teaching isn’t about the data, it’s about the opportunity to help a child grow. Being bilingual is a GIFT. These students will already have begun to realize just how much you care – and that, too is a gift, one that can affect young lives profoundly, for the better.

    • Adrienne September 13, 2022 at 6:30 am #

      I think for some kids, what they reveal in this email is more important than what we do in class.

  4. beckymusician September 13, 2022 at 8:41 am #

    What an impressive amount of information your students shared! and interesting, too. I taught 4th grade and in my last year (before retiring) I had my students write an email to their parents. My purpose was to teach and practice the format for writing an email or even a letter. I had one very interesting student write, “Dear Mom, Mrs. Leff is forcing me to write this.” LOL

    • Adrienne September 13, 2022 at 8:50 am #

      There have been a few clunkers that didn’t reveal much.

  5. arjeha September 13, 2022 at 9:02 am #

    What a great lesson your students are learning in how to write an email to a professional, and what a great way for you to get to know something more about your students besides what may be in their files. I think students feel more comfortable in a classroom where their teachers knows them as a person and not just the one who sits in the fourth seat of the third row.

    • Adrienne September 13, 2022 at 11:59 am #

      I am still struggling with learning all their names but this sure helps.

  6. Lisa Corbett September 13, 2022 at 7:06 pm #

    What a great way to teach them a skill and get to know them!

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