Site icon ELA Brave and True by Marilyn Yung

This Back-to-School One-Pager Works Wonders

Get to know your in-class and remote learners quickly

Thanks to Spark Creativity! for this awesome “biographical one-pager” idea that I used last week when school started on Thursday. Read this blog post for all the details and printable downloads.

As a mentor or example, I projected mine (see above) on the whiteboard and we talked about the details I chose to share with my biographical one-pager:

Favorite Quote
Favorite Movies
Favorite Books
Favorite Places on Earth
My Family
Things I Collect
Something I Enjoy Doing
Favorite Musical Artist

I let students know that mine was merely an example. They could include their favorite athlete, team or sport, or really anything about themselves they wanted to share.

Then I turned them loose on creating their own. I previously copied off three templates from the PDF mentioned in this post, made copies, and set them on a central table in my room alongside a box of markers and colored pencils.

This also worked well for my virtual students learning at home.

I uploaded the templates and my mentor, along with a quick explanation of the task, to Google Classroom. One student colored theirs pronto, snapped a quick photo, emailed it back, and – voila! – I know them better already!

Photo: Unsplash

It’s definitely fun learning interesting things about your students. You’ll learn that you have quite a bit in common with several of them with this one-pager. And you’ll also learn that some of the most intriguing people are in your classes. For example, one of my students loves to do calligraphy, and one’s favorite place is Puerto Rico. Another couldn’t wait to work on their truck when they got home. Another is really uncomfortable with being onstage.

Seriously, you will learn so much more in one class period about your students than you will if you wait for individual writer’s conferences a couple of weeks into the year (like I did last year), or in passing as they file out of the room, or otherwise.

I’m really glad I used this to start the 2020-2021 school year, especially since we don’t know what the upcoming weeks will bring.

Thanks for reading! School has started and our first two days were awesome. Smooth sailing so far! For more ELA teaching ideas, resources, and reflections, student writing contests and a slew of upcoming headline poetry posts, enter your email address below. I’ll keep you up to date with an occasional newsletter. You’ll also receive a free printable guidesheet to help your students learn to write Treasured Object poems.

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