Hi, and welcome to my blog.

This is a great time to begin an educational blog because it is a new year, and the new semester starts tomorrow morning. I am really excited to gear back up and get back in the classroom.

Seeing as how it is a brand new year, I have a couple ideas in mind for starting off on the right foot. In the very beginning of the school year I did a great ice breaker activity with all of my classes. It was a Post Secret themed activity, and it really worked. So many of my students opened up and shared some pretty deep secrets anonymously. I shared the secrets aloud, and by the end of the class period my students knew that they were not alone. Many had the same secrets, the same fears, the same hopes, the same doubts. I plan on having my students participate in another activity tomorrow that will hopefully open up their eyes.

The Crumpled Paper Experiment
In the beginning of class I will ask all of my students to get out a piece of paper. Then, I will instruct them to crumple it into a small ball as tightly as they can. Once this task is finished, I will then give them the impossible task of smoothing it out completely. They will work on their own paper. They will help their neighbor's paper. They will spend some time trying to smooth out the crumpled paper. I know that the paper will never be good as new, but I want my students to try and get their paper to look as new as possible. After several minutes of my students relentlessly trying to smooth out the old, crumpled paper, I will tell them the significance of this activity. Despite all of the work and despite all of the effort that they put into making their paper new again, the creases and lines are still there. The creases and lines represent the ever-lasting emotional scars that can result from bullying. After the activity I will give the students several minutes to participate in a free write.

After the Crumpled Paper Experiment, I am going to engage my students with a New Year's Goals Essay. I am going to ask my students to identify one educational, one social, and one community goal that they would like to set and work toward in 2014. This essay will take about two days in class, and then my students will be moving on to The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Fun times lie ahead!

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