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A Creative Way to Showcase Students at the Beginning of the Year

The first week of school is a busy time for teachers and students.  It’s also a time to get to know your students and their personalities.  But at the same time, we do have to teach the Common Core State Standards.  So how do I connect the two?  With iPortrait puppets and tablet selfies!  I used the Back to School iPortraits during the first week of school.

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I recently updated a product that I had in which the students had to write a short description of themselves using their character traits and then draw a self-portrait.  Originally the template for this included a Polaroid snapshot.  Okay, you’re probably wondering what a Polaroid snapshot is.  You might want to Google it…LOL.  Yes, I’m that old.  So I updated the entire product to now use a tablet template. The cool factor just went up with my students!

Teacher Made Examples

As you can see from my examples, they turn out very cool.  I copied my examples onto card stock and laminated it.  I also showed my students the Barack Obama example as well.  I copied the student’s template onto card stock as well (back to back with the description and selfie).  They started with a sheet that lists character traits that are positive, negative and neutral.  We went through most of the list and discussed meanings and gave examples.  Then I had the students pick one from each column. They listed their traits on the planner and then had to write 1-2 sentences giving evidence for that trait.

Character Traits List and Planner

Once this was done, it was now time to transfer it to the tablet template.  I had the students write it all down in pencil, then trace with a pen.  Then they worked on their selfie.  This particular card stock was not that thick, so I had them use crayons.  Once both sides were completed, it was time to trim the tablet.  I plan on hanging them above the student’s desks or making them into a book.  I definitely want to display them for Back to School Night!

Student Made Examples

There’s an option in the product for the student to also do an iPortrait on a classmate from class.  Sort of like an interview then they go through the same procedure and present their classmate with the completed iPortrait.  It’s a great way to get students to know each other on a more deeper level.

Again there are options to print the template in white, black or green.  Next year, I’ll be doing these in green!

Three versions are included

I also had the students make a little Character Traits puppet to hang on our Class Wall.  On this wall I have them all so that they see we are a community.  This template for the puppet is included in the Back to School iPortraits product as well.  I used my iPad and an app called TurboCollage to print out the students head shot. I gave them each a copy of it and they trimmed it and glued it to the puppet.

Character Traits Puppets

What activities do you do at the beginning of the year to get your students rolling?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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Two Boys and a Dad
Two Boys and a Dad

Hi, I’m Claudio, the dad from Two Boys and a Dad. Whether you’re just starting out teaching or a veteran teacher, let me offer you some ideas, tips, suggestions, resources and a sounding board for your daily classroom struggles (and successes!). This is your place to find information and ask questions about teaching in the elementary grades.

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