New Trimester; New Student Created Expectations

I still have to write my final SHAPE Boston reflection, but one of the ideas I took from SHAPE Boston to implement immediately in my classroom was the “R.O.P.E.S.” acronym explained by Andy Milne in his session on participatory activities in health education. Today we began a new trimester, and I had all new 7th and 8th grade classes (I dropped my 6th grade today). What better time to try a new activity?!

A lot of teachers go over the same song and dance on the first day of a class. It’s a “here’s the course information sheet, yawn, tell me your name, blah blah blah, here are the rules, is your butt numb yet?!” routine. Today we did our usual “turn in your cool card” dance lesson, and then I moved into the “R.O.P.E.S.” activity. As explained by Andy & Andy:

R.O.P.E.S. is an acronym that we use to set a tone in the classroom. We have students come up with words that pertain to classroom environment that start with these five letters. Students are encouraged to provide an example (“what would that look like in our classroom?”) for the word they choose. It has been an effective way to get students to participate in creating classroom expectations. Usually we hang a copy of the ROPES list on the wall so that students are reminded throughout the year of the expectations.

I did this with four classes, giving each group a piece of paper to brainstorm words letter by letter, and then we discussed each letter and word one at a time and created a visual on the white board. After we had a completed list, I had the students individually reflect on what they could do to make these words a reality in our health class. I snapped a picture of each list after it was finished. Tonight, I quickly typed up all of the words from my four classes and put them into a Wordle

Some classes had words that were more reflective than others, and some words might leave you scratching your head, like “pancakes” (the student who came up with that said to make sure to flip your viewpoint to another side…like a pancake. That’s outside the box thinking!). Here’s an example of what one individual class (the 1st one I did this with) came up with, complete with a plethora of lost & found books missing their owners because #middleschool:

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Below you’ll see four different layouts of the completed Wordles. I plan on printing these out in color to post around my classroom. I’ll post them in Google Classroom, and may even adjust the dimensions to use as a header for each Google Classroom page, too. Overall, I liked the interactive element of this activity and the opportunity for students to have a voice in what they wanted health class to look like. I’m glad Andy shared this activity that him and his colleague (another Andy) use in their health classrooms.  This is an activity I’ll be repeating and one that you could implement in your classroom tomorrow. Click the link at the start of this post or just click here to access the R.O.P.E.S. document from Andy & Andy.

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Now, about that grading…

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