July is almost over and all I can think about it what will our first week look like? We recently got word that we will start doing digital learning. We will have 2 weeks to build our classroom communities online. In addition to building community, we will use this time to teach students how to use the online tools needed for remote learning. So, I’m rethinking all my “Get to Know You” activities into digital activities! In the past I’ve loved doing a “Me Museum” as an on going get to know you activity for my 1st – 6th grade classes. This really is one of those activities for all ages.
What is Me Museum?
In the physical classroom a Me Museum is a display of physical objects curated by students to show the class who they are! Students choose 3 objects to display that represent themselves. They write a caption for each item for the display. As the teacher, you may choose to add a presentation element where students present their items and classmates ask questions.
Community Building: It is your job as the teacher to create an environment where students are able to develop relationships among one another, to form a community within the greater school community. You will plan activities, consider your classroom arrangement, and develop curriculum that will allow students to be seen as a member of the community.
Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.Hellen Keller
When students feel a sense of belonging they are more successful at taking risks and in turn learning! Want to learn more about how to create a sense of belonging and foster students’ academic mindsets? Visit this blog post and grab a poster and self assessments in my TPT store!
Creativity: Students love getting creative about what objects are special to them, represent their hobbies & families. It is a good idea to launch this activity with a class brainstorm. Discuss with students how objects can “represent” them. For example, you might show a special necklace and describe how you got it from your partner and that represents your relationship with her. Once you give kids time to talk to one another and come up with some ideas collectively students will definitely surprise you with their creative ideas!
Connection: Students find connections between themselves when they share their special items. When student A shares a special gift from his grandma, student B might relate because he too lives with his grandma. When students get the chance to showcase their special items it opens doors to connections that may have been missed otherwise.
So how do you make sure you launch this in a way that will ensure everyone is able to successfully complete this. Pre-planning and considering your context is essential for this type of activity. Although this doesn’t require a lot of at home work, you will be most successful if you plan ahead for the barriers that may occur by asking students to work on things at home. You know your students and families best, so make a plan for how to support students who may need it.
Get parents involved by distributing the information sheet pictured below. Want to download this? Visit my TPT store and download for free!
Create a small nook in your classroom to showcase the student’s items. Designate a “viewing time” each day where students can go get a second look at the times.
Schedule it! Give students time to choose their items and write their captions. You could schedule one kid per day or week, based on what works for your class. It is best to allow a few days for each student’s items to be displayed.
Presentations? Students could give oral presentations of the items or just display them and give classmates time to view. You can schedule a time after everyone has viewed the items for a Q & A.
Tips & Tricks
- Remind students to ask each other questions about the items on their free time.
- Have a brainstorming session to help students think of objects they may want to include.
- Go first! Introduce yourself and the process by being the first “me” in the museum!
- Discuss norms before you start! What will we say and do to make each other feel safe to share? What if someone says something that is hurtful? This is SO important to consider with students as you launch this activity. Not all students will have the same types of objects so consider what you will need to say and do with students to prepare them to be kind to one another and ensure that everyone feels welcome in this activity.
- Digital version—> (See left image). Ask students to upload images to describe them instead of objects. Or even better, upload pictures of objects! A blank template is available for download in the TPT resource here!
Are you ready to try this in your classroom?
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Be sure to share with me how you do this with your students! Tag me on Instagram @LocalLearnersandCo or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t wait to see how you put your own spin on this activity!
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