At the beginning of the year, it is important to honestly discuss with students what traits and behaviors they'll need to succeed during the academic year. During this process, it is essential that educators and students speak honestly, so that everyone knows from the get-go what they'll be expected to do in order to reach the formidable goals that are set during the creation of their hopes and dreams.
One way to frame this discussion is by leading students through the Successful Student / Successful Teacher activity. Teachers could also lead parents through a similar Successful Parent activity during open house or early-in-the-year curriculum night.
One fifth grade teacher lead his students through the Successful Student activity to identify specific traits and behaviors they all would have to show in order to have success in the classroom.
First, the teacher asked the students to think independently of what traits, characteristics and behaviors a successful student must have. Students were instructed to write down ideas so they would be ready for the next step of the process: small group conversation.
In small groups, the individual students shared their ideas. Finally, the groups merged together and as a whole class, the students and teacher filled out their Successful Student on the whiteboard.
As students contributed their ideas, the teacher asked the students to tell him where they thought the characteristic or behavior would be located on the person. The teacher found the students highly engaged and that they really enjoyed the activity.
After, the students completed the same procedure for the Successful Teacher.
The teacher commented how telling it is that the students identified successful teachers as professionals who know how to teach students, who believe in himself/herself, and who are patient with students. Certainly worthy goals of any teacher!
After reading about how one fifth grade teacher led his students through the Successful Student / Successful Teacher activity to identify traits, characteristics, and behaviors one needs in a classroom to be successful during the academic year, how could you use this activity with your students?