I LOVE the first days of school. I enjoy getting to know my students, I love the excitement in the air as friends reunite after the summer break, and I don't even mind the inevitable schedule changes of the first few days. But my favorite part of the first days of school is presentation day. I assign my students the task of creating a presentation to help introduce themselves to me. The only requirement is that it include a list of information I want to know and the rest is up to them. I model one mode of presentation through my own introduction project, but I give a quick tutorial on several other tools they may use. Additionally, I give them the option of using poster board and embellishments, but I give extra points for the use of technology.
Today is presentation day. In some classes the students are almost competitive for the opportunity to go next; while in others I have to strong arm a few unwilling folks I happen to be familiar with to get the ball rolling. Every year students learn new things about classmates they've shared classes with for years. One student was an extra in The Hunger Games movie, another is an avid outdoorsman who has also considered a career as a fashion merchandiser for outdoorwear, and still another has traveled extensively with a prestigious choral group and has even performed in the Vatican.
I am constantly amazed at what these kids have done in their relatively short lives. (I'm also constantly reminded of how old I am as they state that they were born the year I graduated from high school.*ouch*) I love the opportunity to learn more about my students and to see photographs of their family and friends. I love to poke fun of my colleagues when their children reveal something about their parent that I never knew. Simply, I love these shared moments of humanity.