How to have an awesome BACK TO SCHOOL 2023 in 3 easy steps: icebreakers, critical thinking, and more!

BACK TO SCHOOL Activities Unit Plan: Get Ready for SEPTEMBER 2023!

Build classroom community and classroom expectations around a Growth Mindset. Explicitly teach Social Emotional Learning skills to set the tone for a year of learning.

STEP 1. Play human bingo activity to get your students talking.

  • PRO TIP: Don’t just hand out the worksheet. (Otherwise, students will just walk around and tell people to write down their name.)
  • Take up the human bingo questions and see who in the class has already used ChatGPT or AI.

OPTIONAL: Show students how to respectfully disagree

  • If you notice from the Back to School Activity (Human Bingo) that your students have trouble interacting with each other, then we need to practice respectful disagreement.
  • Check out these fun, high-interest Classroom Citizenship Debates to set up rules for conversation. Students get to work their way through “easy” topics to more “challenging” topics.

STEP 2. Have a classroom debate: Should ChatGPT be allowed in Schools?

  • Set up a classroom community where the expectation is to think critically and look for high quality information to test our assumptions / bias.

STEP 3. Explore 21st Century Learning Skills. Give students a common language to view academic and life challenges during this school year: Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.

  • The world is always controversial and changing: Covid, the war in Ukraine, ChatGPT, Black Lives Matter, Global Warming, etc.
  • The problem with ChatGPT is not that it’s a cheating tool. (Well, it is the ultimate learning / cheating / biased tool rolled into one big temptation.)
  • The problem is that ChatGPT represents change. And change is hard and controversial because there are many perspectives, strong feelings, and winners / losers.
  • ChatGPT is simply the next opportunity for us to explore 21st Century Learning Skills / Social Emotional Learning through explicit instruction.
  • Do we cheat by using ChatGPT to generate the answers? Maybe. Maybe not. What choices do we make when no one is looking? Self Awareness. Self Management. Social Awareness. Responsible Decision Making. Relationship Skills. (Hello CASEL 5 SEL!)

PRO TIP: If you want to do these 3 steps and explicitly teach students how to use 6Cs / 21st Century Learning skills, then you want the Back to School 6Cs Growth Mindset Bundle. Save time and money by getting 90+ lessons that you can use throughout the year to help students with Social Emotional Learning.

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