This Bio Poem is another artifact that I like to add to my students' time capsules. It is quick and easy, and again, I do it within the first few days of school so that I can get to know them better.
To begin, I teach them an activity called "Rapid Fire". Everyone stands in a circle around the room fairly close together. I pose a question like: What's your favorite type of food? or Where would you love to visit? I answer first and then everyone else answers in rapid succession all around the circle. Students may say pass, if they have nothing to say. We usually go through this 3 or 4 times. The purpose of this game is to break the ice and help us built community in the classroom by getting to know each other better.
I start by modeling the process of writing the poem by sharing my own Bio poem. The students sometimes have trouble with the format, and I am honestly not super picky about it because this is more of a get to know you tool than anything. After I go step by step through my poem modeling each line, I ask the students to begin writing their rough draft in their writing notebooks.
On a side note, I have students keep 2 separate notebooks: 1 for reading and 1 for writing. They do all of their pre-writing and drafting in the writing notebook. That way everything is in one place and it is much less likely that something will get lost.
Once students have had their rough draft approved by me, they will write a final copy on cards stock. Many students like to decorate the paper with pictures that represent them as well.
If you are going to make this time capsule/book for your students, it is so helpful to have them do as much as possible on card stock for easy binding.
When students are finished, I invite them to share their poems on the document camera. Another option would be to have each student place his or her poem on top of the desk. The class can take a gallery walk around the room reading each others poetry.
Once again, this activity provides the opportunity for students to get to know each other and feel comfortable.
I am in the situation where we get many new sixth graders. Our school is basically a K-6 campus with a middle school. In addition to our students, the middle school also brings in students from two neighboring K-6 schools. Parents often decide to move their children in sixth grade to ease the transition. This is just one more reason why I do take the first couple of weeks to really build community and get to know everyone. It may seem like wasted time to some, but taking the time to build relationships with my students pays dividends in the end. I feel that building strong relationships with my students increases their achievement. They want to do well because they know I am counting on them to do so. They know I care. It's like we are one big family! : )