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See With Fresh Eyes

Now that you are into the school year, ask yourself: What do I know about my students so far? For this challenge, choose students you find difficult or whom you just don’t know very well and see these students with fresh eyes - focused on their assets and potential.

What you will need

Time estimate
30 minutes with optional extension

paper, pen, class roster


  1. Choose 3 students in your class(es) - perhaps a few students who have challenged you recently.

  2. One student at a time, use the reflection prompts below to consider each child from different perspectives. (You may also find this reflection document helpful to guide your note-taking.) Be as objective and descriptive as possible - focusing on what you know or have observed, rather than what you believe or assume about each child based on reports from last year’s teacher, a student’s reputation, or even your own interaction with a student in past years.   

  3. For each student, answer three or more of the following questions that will help you get to know them better.

    • What stories has the student told you or her classmates?

    • What does the student often draw or write about?

    • How has the student contributed to our class?

    • Where does the student typically spend time while in the classroom? On the playground?

    • Who are the student’s friends? What is his role among his friends?

    • What types of questions does the student tend to ask?

    • In what ways does the student like to help?

    • What might you learn from this student?

    • What else do you notice about the student?

  4. Keep your responses somewhere safe, out of view of students and classroom visitors.

  5. Spend time with one of the students to get to know them better; consider finding time during lunch, before or after school. You can use the questions to give you ideas for your conversation.

  6. A few weeks later, revisit these questions and your responses. Consider how your perspective on these students has changed. Do you have any new answers to the reflection questions?


Virtual Teaching Note: If you've been teaching online vs. in person some of the prompts in here will be less applicable and getting to know students individually can be more difficult. You may need to rely on a student's writing or small group experiences to learn more about them.  

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Great Job!

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Did you like this challenge and want to try another?

​The Poster Analysis challenge will help you to explore the implicit and explicit messages in your classroom.

Lunch Date challenge asks you to eat lunch with a group of students, without talking about school.

Join the discussion!

Share something you discovered about a student. How was this different from what you knew or believed before?

What surprised you while doing this challenge? Besides the reflection prompts, what other questions did you ask yourself?

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