During the first few weeks of school, I will need to collect data on all of my students. The background information that I receive may be misleading and not an accurate depiction of how my students will perform. I will need to take into account the schools that they came from and the curriculum that was taught there, as well as the teaching methods that were implemented. I will also need to obtain information on the school’s neighborhood and what my student’s home life is like. Do they have two working parents? Are they involved in a difficult situation such as divorce or imprisonment? Do they have many responsibilities at home? Knowing these facts about my students will help me to understand them on a personal level. For example, perhaps most of my students are juniors and seniors and have part time jobs. A significantly long homework assignment may be more difficult for these students to complete. This also may be why they are falling below grade level. They just simply might not have the time. To accommodate them, I can skip some days for homework, or create shorter assignments that still incorporate skills and content.
For the first week of school, I would like to do a share out with my students. This will also help the students socially so that their peers can get to know them as well as myself. I will ask students to share their name, age, birthday, and one or two interesting facts about themselves. If they are not comfortable sharing out, I will have them write the information on an index card so I have the information for myself. By knowing their interests and personal anecdotes, I will be able to tailor their lessons with their specific needs in mind.