My Version of Identity Day Update 1

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about my class version of George Couros’ “Identity Day.” I heard him describe it at part of the Reform Symposium. (Catch the archived version here.)

Let me give a little background. I showed this video as a start to our conversation about ourselves. The video is a book trailer for Daniel Pink’s newest book Drive. The key thing for our discussion is that it asks the question: What is your sentence. This is what we used to begin.

After some discussion I gave some possible examples for myself and these directions:

On Friday we will each share a little something about ourselves. You should begin by coming up with your sentence. Remember the video we watched? What is your sentence right now? It doesn’t have to be your sentence for life, just your life at the moment.

On Friday each person will have his or her sentence on a sentence strip (I will give you a strip) and a small display on his or her desk. This display could be pictures, small items, a poster, books, whatever you want that helps us understand your sentence. I will share my sentence and make a small display as well.

Each of you will get a few minutes to share this special interest or with our class.

I can’t wait to hear about each of you!

Then, I waited.

To say that I was unprepared for the response does not even begin to describe the day. This was the last thing we did on a Friday, the second week of school. Not prime time. It was the only time I had what I thought was a long enough block of time.

Here are our sentences:

  • She likes to make all kinds of things.
  • She loves Paris, France.
  • You can call me crazy, because it’s true.
  • I have many bright ideas for our armed forces.
  • I like baseball, basketball and long multiplication.
  • Lax is my thing and I like to sing.
  • I love to swim.
  • She loves to be creative and likes to be herself.
  • I live and breathe tennis.
  • I enjoy doing puzzles with my brother.
  • I want to be in the Olympics, a lot.
  • (Name) is about soccer, math, and a laugh.
  • I like to compete in math and sports.
  • I like doing fun stuff.
  • (Name) likes to play soccer, cook and have fun. (a boy)
  • I like to make cool projects.
  • All day I think about soccer.

The sentences were interesting. They brought little displays to share.

I live and breathe tennis.

I like to make cool projects.

But what was the most amazing was how much attention, interest, and care they showed. Each person shared his or her interest and collection of items. Students asked questions of everyone. They were respectful of all interests and genuinely interested in what others were doing. There was no wiggling, giggling (except at jokes), eye rolling, sighing, or wandering. For a few students I had to cut off questions so that we wouldn’t run out of time. All told, it was easily 75+ minutes of just sharing. That doesn’t include the time we spent walking around looking at things up close before beginning.

I was blown away.

I want to be in the Olympics, a lot. have many bright ideas for our armed forces.

Here are a few of the things I heard:

  • Q: Do you feel you have pushed the boundary of crazy? (totally serious question)
  • A: I haven’t yet, but I feel I may soon. (also serious)
  • Q: What is the hardest thing you ever made (cooking)?
  • A: That would have to be when I tried putting chocolate then cheese over bacon.
  • Q: You must have a lot of patience (to student talking about 1,000 piece puzzles)
  • A: My mom can’t take it. If she doesn’t get a piece in like a minute, she quits. My brother and I, we have a lot of strategies.
  • I love to laugh, I do it a lot. They say I’ll live longer, so that’s a good thing.
  • I know that’s really hard because I tried it and kept falling into
    walls and stuff.
  • I personally love Snoopy, but that’s just me.
  • I got into it when I was really little and I’ve liked it ever since.

I cannot adequately express what a great afternoon this was. Not only was it a fantastic event, I think it will set a tone for the rest of the year.

  1. It is amazing how you “tweaked” the event, yet you really got the essence of it with your students. I loved the stories that you have shared about your kids, but what is most important, is that you now KNOW the stories of these kids! You are right; you have definitely set the tone for the year! Fantastic work and congratulations to you and your students 🙂

  2. Olivemom says:

    So so so so SO cool!

  3. brandy75 says:

    It will set the tone because you cared enough to allow your kids to express themselves and not only let you know who they are but also their classmates. I think you were also successful because it wasn’t the focus of the day. You kept it low key and therefore no one felt put on the spot.
    Hope you have a terrific year 🙂

  4. mseiteljorg says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    I made a great little animoto video with pictures and sentences set to fun jazz music that I can’t share with the wider world since there are faces and names, sorry.

    I am sending the link to it to parents tomorrow and hope they will be as enthusiastic about it as their children were.

    As a next step, I plan to use this as a springboard to a beginning student blogs. I won an upgrade for a bunch of edublogs at the Reform Symposium, so we’re not going to let that go to waste. I figure that since everyone has shared an interest or two, they can use that as a focus for their blog. I’ll try to get that started next week. I think it will be a natural extension.

  5. Nancy C says:

    This totally made me smile!!!! I love it and you can tell the kids did too! I’m definitely going to try this for the end of the year and then do it in September with my new class!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. […] happened has been amazing. Watching schools in Texas, North Carolina, British Columbia, Ontario, Chicago, Brazil, and many others do their own versions of this idea has had a major impact on my own […]

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