Getting to Know My Learners

Day 2 of #28DaysofWriting and it was Day 1 of school for the year. That meant that today was spent with the 12 Year 9 and 10 students in my Learning Hub (our HPSS version of Learning Advisories). Part of the day focused on getting to know each other and part of the day on a challenge introducing them to one of our Hobsonville Habits.

I have 2 aims in the first few days of school every year:

  1. Get to know my learners
  2. See them go home happy

Today I got to know my Hub through a range of activities involving them speaking to each other, writing answers, drawing pictures and creating sculptures out of material such as play doh, paper, straws and pipe cleaners. I also learned a lot (possibly more) by watching how each of them approached each activity.

First up we shared our names and something that we really enjoyed over the summer. To extend this we then completed the Trading Cards activity that I found in Gamestorming. Students created their trading card representing themselves with picture, name, nickname and something others might not know about them. We then passed these round our circle reading them silently, then once again holding onto 1 that we had a question about. We then took turns asking our questions and finding out more about each other.


My Trading Card from today


Next, I wanted to find out a bit more in depth information about what each student thought was important for them and what they are aiming towards. I gave each of them an A3 sheet as below and gave them time to think of their hopes/dreams/aspirations/goals for this year, the 4/5 years they have left at HPSS, by the time they are 30 and in their Life.


Our next couple of hours were taken up completing the Hub challenge. Each Hub had been given a Hobsonville Habit (ours was Purposeful) and a place in our local area that had to feature (for us it was Bomb Point – the old ammunition storage area from it’s Air Force past – a decent walk in the hot sun today!). After the walk, the group took a while to work out a plan and eventually decided on making a film about how to be purposeful in making a film – how very postmodern of them! I learned a lot about each of them by watching as they collaborated on this activity.

Whilst 2 of the Year 10s, who I know well from being in my Hub last year, finished editing the film, the rest of us made sculptures to represent our families. This activity taught me about their family situations, what their families like to do but also a lot about their creative confidence.

Our final activity of the day was Campfire – another gem from Gamestorming (thanks here to the No Tosh team who put me on to this book and my parents for buying it for me for Christmas!). On post its I wrote 20 words including innovate, published, exciting, question, celebration, confident, satisfaction, whanau, wow… and placed them on the window beside our Hub area. We then each chose a post it and shared a story from our past that was prompted by the chosen word.

A great day, lots learned about each of my students and some happy smiling faces as they left for the day. 2 goals achieved today and 28 minutes of writing achieved for me now.


4 thoughts on “Getting to Know My Learners

  1. Your day sounded fantastic and I can imagine every student did leave with a smile. Some brilliant hands on activities which I’m sure have you a lot of insight into them.

    • Thanks Ruth, I also got a lot of insight by watching the ways they approached each task. Who was more comfortable in individual vs group tasks? Who showed leadership? Who was more confident writing, drawing, making, discussing etc.

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