What does a fictional unicorn have to do with your 15 year old students?

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Objective

SWBAT write routinely for reflection by responding to a prompt about what makes them special.

Big Idea

Meet your students by identifying what makes them special.

Let's start thinking

5 minutes

Today is the third day of school, our second full day.  Yesterday, I distributed the syllabus, collected information cards, etc.  Today, I want students to get to know me.  Today's lesson gives me an opportunity to share some relatable details about me and students share some semi-personal details from their lives.  

I will introduce students to the warm up sheet.  We will use this Warm Ups sheet each week.  This video explains why  I don't grade Warm Ups.  The warm up sheet collects writing for different purposes and during different time frames.  Students collect these warm up sheets and keep them organized in their classroom binder.  At the end of the year, they serve as documentation of the students' thoughts, feelings, fears and successes during their sophomore year.  

 

Story Time

15 minutes

I begin class by asking students about story time in elementary school.  They quickly jump in with memories of sitting criss-cross-applesauce on beautiful carpet at their teachers feet while she told funny tales with interesting voices and intriguing pictures.  I explain to students we are going to recreate that experience.  

I tell students that this story is one of my favorites.  Beulah, no matter how much her friend tells her differently, doesn't want to be herself.  In fact, she wants to be anyone but herself.  I put a chair at the front of the room and ask students to gather around.  I read A Unicorn Named Beulah Mae by Jane Stroschin concentrating on funny voices for Beulah Mae and Melvin.  

This video A Unicorn Named Beulah Mae explains why I use this particular book.  

Now explain to me what makes you unique

20 minutes

Now that we have read the story, I ask students to write me a letter of introduction (W.9-10.10).  I explain,

Please tell me three different things in your letter.  First, tell me about you as a student.  Second, tell me what unique qualities you are going to bring to this classroom this year. I want you to be uniquely you.  Third, tell me anything you think I need to know to help you succeed this year.  

When students finish their letter, I will collect them.  

I will read and respond to each letter.  This is an important part of building trust and positive relationships in the classroom.