Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Find the Fib…First Day Activity (UPDATED)

By on September 5, 2008

I learned a version of this activity from Erick Gordon this summer at the UCI institute. Basically, it’s a get-to-know activity where the students get to learn a little about me and then learn a little about each other. It also becomes a very easy springboard for teaching Narrative and Memoir.

First I shared a list of 11 statements about myself. Embedded in the list is one fib. The kids read the statements out loud and then I have kids volunteer guesses as to which is the fib. They also have to justify why they feel it’s the fib.

With each one they chose that is an actual fact, I do a quick one-minute oral narrative about that fact that makes them wanting more. When they hit the fib, well, then I do a little soapbox number.

Here was my list:

1. My father is the 1969 World Champion Jeopardy player.

2. I was kicked out of Brownies in 4th grade.

3. When I was a child, I was a model on The Price is Right.

4. When I was 14 I went to Greece and dropped my coolest pair of sunglasses into a well of frogs.

5. My dad created Capt. Jack Sparrow.

6. When I studied at Oxford University in England, I ended up having an emergency appendectomy.

7. My husband and I met in 2nd grade.

8. I am a certified OpenWater II scuba diver who goes diving with her mom.

9. When I was in school, I was a straight A student.

10. I once worked at a guest ranch, working in the stables, leading the kiddie rides across the Arizona desert.

11. One weekend, I was so bored that I went skydiving just to do something new.

Can you guess the fib? Answer: # 9. Yes, it’s true. I was NOT a straight A student. In fact, I didn’t find a joy in learning or in school until the occasional high school class or college class when I could actual point to classes I was actually interested in.

In other words, I not only didn’t have a passion in or for school, but I also remember what I didn’t like or understand. As a teacher, my recollections add to my ability to reach out to a diversity of learners. As a teacher, my willingness to share myself, my strengths, and my foibles adds to my ability to reach them as well.

Then I had the kids develop 4 truths and a fib.  They partnered up and tried to guess each other’s fibs, giving little verbal narratives about each truth.  Afterwards, their partners had to circle the story they would like to hear more about.  We did a real quick review of sensory details and I modeled creating a bulleted list of details from one of the truths.  The one I modeled was # 11.  So here’s what I wrote:

*a free-fall out of a plane feels like you’re lying on a table.  That’s how much pressure there is on your body.

*the plan ride up was so loud, we couldn’t hear each other yell our words across the aisle.

*When you jump, the only real idea of speed you have is the fact that the plane is getting smaller so quickly.  When you level out, your hands flap, but the horizon stays the same for a long time.  Otherwise, it’s almost like a loud hovering.

*when you pull the cord to let out the parachute, you get an intense wedgie.

*my feet fell asleep which drifting down to the ground

*my mouth was open during free-fall so when I landed, my teeth felt like they were wearing socks.  They were that grimy.

Then the kids created their own bulleted list of sensory details.  It began a potential narrative, should they chose to return to this concrete description brainstorm.

Share yourself, your experiences, and the themes of your life. You are the supplemental material. Share yourself and your students will learn more.

Hope your first day went as well as my own.

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