kimskorner4teachertalk.com

  SafeSurf Rated All Ages   This site is has been rated by WebRatings.Org

ACTIVITIES FOR THE
FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL

Here are some activities you can do with students on the first day back to school. Some are fun, some are valuable as learning tools, and some are both.

Introduce Yourself

bullet

This is something that often gets overlooked. Although the students know your name, they do not know you. Let them know some things about you. Let them know where your grew up, where you went to school, your teaching background and how long you have been teaching. (Unless it is your first year. I have discovered that middle schoolers love to torment first year teachers. Do not lie about being new, but do not tell them unless they ask. My teaching partner counted student teaching as her first year so you she would not have to tell them it was her fist year.) Do not forget to tell them about your family. The students will see you as a real person if you share something about yourself.

 

bullet

Create a Who Is Your Teacher? bulletin board to use with your introduction.

bullet

I teach various social studies subjects at Keystone Heights Jr/Sr High School in Keystone Heights, Florida. We are a 1200+ student, 7-12 public school in Northeast Florida.  Since we are a relatively small school in a close-knit community I often "know" the students in my class prior to them actually being in my class, and in turn they think they "know" me. 

As an icebreaker/opening activity we do a tried and true activity, KWL, with the topic being "Mrs. Honour" For those unfamiliar with the activity, the students make a list of things they already "K"now about the topic, things they "W"ant to know about the topic and after the "lesson" the students list what they have "L"earned about the topic. We generally get a pretty good list going about what they know about me (common knowledge) .... I drive a green mini-van, I shop at Food Lion, I have two children who go to this school.... Then we get a list of what they want to know... in the past, the students have wanted to know what do I do for fun, what kinds of music do I listen to, and if have I ever met anyone famous .... 

Now for the lesson... I prepare a list of facts about myself, ranging from where I was born to I manage my own fantasy baseball team, and other similarly "interesting" facts.. I fold each one and put them all in my fact jar. I have a large piece of white butcher paper taped to the board with my name circled in the center. (this introduces the freeform concept mapping activity I use regularly in class) I ask for volunteers and one by one the students illustrate the fact and students guess what it is... when someone gets in right, they illustrate the next fact... Each class produces a free form map of me! I tell them that they will need to learn this valuable information about me. 

The next day - I leave all the classes maps of me up, and pass out a 20 question "quiz" in multiple choice format, and tell them to feel free to use the "visual resources" on the wall. Auughhhh a quiz on the second day, they groan.... good news for them is that after I "grade" the quizzes, I return them the next day with a coupon attached... I grade the quiz based on 10 questions and for every question they get right over the 10, they get a coupon worth that many extra credit points on a real quiz! 

We then go back to the KWL list and I have each class contribute 3 new things they know about me... So now, the mysterious teacher at the front of the class seems to be more like a real person to everyone, and for homework they are to create their own free-form concept of themselves (7-10 facts illustrated on a 81/2X11 unlined paper), and viola, I have great "stuff" for a bulletin board just in time for open house. 

bulletSubmitted by Nicole Honour

Student Introductions

bullet

Have the students introduce themselves to you. Try to remember as many names as possible. I turn it into a game for myself. During the first week, I play "Name That Student" at the end of each class. I take a class roster with me and move around the classroom trying to guess each student's name. I work around the room as many times as time allows. On the last day of the week, I put the class roster away and work from memory. My goal is to know every student's name by the end of the first week, and this game usually allows me to accomplish that goal.

Seating Chart

bullet

Create a seating chart as soon as your class list is final. Be sure to allow for flexibility, the first chart will more than likely have some flaws. Even if you do not plan to use a seating chart throughout the year, it will help you learn the students' names if you use one the first few weeks of school. If remembering names is a problem for you, put the students in alphabetical order for the first seating chart. Most teachers alphabetize by the last name; try alphabetizing by the first name instead.

Other ideas for seating charts

Icebreakers and Energizers

bullet

Present some "getting to know you" activities for the students. They will get to know one another, and you will get to know them. You will also be able to see how they work together as a group so you can spot potential problems and work toward solutions. Visit the Icebreakers and Energizers page.

Crossword Puzzle

bullet

Create a crossword puzzle using classroom rules or policies as the clues. The Criss-Cross Puzzle at Discovery School's Puzzlemaker will make the puzzle for you; you just need to enter the information.

Hidden Message Puzzle

bullet

Create a different word search puzzle with a hidden message for each student. The hidden messages can be rules or policies for your classroom or positive words of encouragement for the new year. The Hidden Message Word Search Puzzle at Discovery School's Puzzlemaker will make the puzzle for you. You tell it what the message is to be and what words you want the students to find.

Hieroglyphic Messages

bullet

Write your rules or policies in hieroglyphic and have the students decode them. Use the Cheops Hieroglyphic Transformer at Egypt's Tourism Net to make your message. A letter to hieroglyphic guide is available as well. You can use the online version or download a program for use on your computer. (You could also write the students' names in hieroglyphic and have the students try to find their names.)

 

bullet

Another site is How to Write Your Name in Mayan Glyphs.  The directions are a little more difficult, but its still fun.

Policy and Rule Question and Answer Match

bullet

Write questions that students might have about your policies and rules on index cards. Write the answers on cards of a different color. Pass them out to the students and have them try to match questions to answers. You will accomplish three goals with this activity. First, your students will become familiar with your rules and policies. Second, your students will get to know each other. Third, you will be able to see which students are shy and which ones do not interact well with other students.

Preview the Textbook

bullet

Pass out the textbooks and let the students preview them so they can see what to expect. Create a "worksheet" that requires the students look over the table of contents, index, and glossary. Ask general questions about the topics you will cover during the year. While the students are working on the assignment, you can officially check out the books.

Pretest

bullet

Give a pretest to determine the class's strengths and weaknesses. This will help you plan lessons throughout the year. You will know which areas to skim over and which ones to cover thoroughly.

Check Out Books from the Classroom Library

bullet

If you teach language arts, have the students check out books from your classroom library. Be sure to go over the procedure for checking out books and returning them. A few students at a time can check out books while the others are working on another activity. The students will now have something to take home the very first day.

Supply List

bullet

Even if you posted the supply list before school began, go over the supply list with the students and explain why they need the uncommon items. Give a deadline for having supplies at school.

 

Organize Materials

bullet

If you want the students to have a certain organizational method for their notebooks and materials, do this the first day. Be sure to have a supply on hand of simple materials such as dividers, paper, folders, spiral notebooks, etc. for those students who are not prepared the first day. They can then pay you back when they get their materials. Hopefully, most students will pay you back.

Student Made Bulletin Board

bullet

Have the students create something for a student made bulletin board. For example, give each student a puzzle piece cut from posterboard or tagboard. Have each student decorate her puzzle piece to show her unique qualities. Items to include are name, hobbies, interests, and family. Provide magazines and clip art for the students to use if they are not artistic. Student can work on this while you are checking out materials, assigning lockers, etc.

Classroom Quilt

bullet

At the beginning of the year I like to have my students participate in an activity that will last the entire year.  Each child receives a square made of material that they decorate according to a theme (such as Olympics) that includes their name.  Those squares are then sewed together to make a curtain, room divider, or wall hanging for the entire year!  The last time I made one the students chose a state that started with the same letter as their name, researched the state, and included some information about that state through pictures.  I completed the quilted curtain by sewing in some red and blue pieces to accent their white ones!
   

bullet

Submitted by Carleen Megow -- Springton Lake Middle School Gr.7 Learning Support Teacher

Student Information Card

bullet

Use you computer to create student information cards. You can get four cards on each sheet. Run copies on cardstock and cut them apart. File this in a box for future reference. Items to include are name, address, phone number, birthday, class schedule, parents' names, and parents' workplaces and phone numbers. You will have the information on hand when you need to call parents or find the student when she isn't with you--no more running to the office and bothering the secretary.

Learning Styles Inventory

bullet

Give your students the learning styles inventory to determine how they learn best. This will be beneficial to both you and your students. Links to assessments are below. Some assessments can be taken online while others will need to be printed and hand scored. Not all of the assessments look at the same traits, so please look at all of them before making a decision.

bullet

Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire -- found at North Carolina State University

 

bullet

VARK Questionnaire -- found at Honolulu Community College Intranet

 

bullet

Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences -- found at The Vancouver Island Invisible Disability Association Website

 

bullet

Learning Style Inventory -- found at Psychology at Red Rocks Community College

Links to other ideas for first day activities:

bullet

Getting to Know You: Activities for the First Day of School -- found at Education World

bullet

Fourteen Great Ideas for the First Days of School -- found at Education World

bullet

Fourteen MORE Activities for the First Days of School -- found at Education World

bullet

Break the Ice -- found at Honolulu Community College

bullet

Icebreakers -- found at Indiana University Teacher Talk

bullet

Icebreakers/Mixers -- found at B'nai B'rith Youth Organization

bullet

The First Days of Middle School -- found at MiddleWeb

   

 

Home Up Site Map Search What's New Printing Tips Writing Grammar Reading & Literature Bookstore Kim's Favorites Kim's Kreations Feedback Awards

Send me an email message.

kimskorner4teachertalk.com

This site last updated 14 November 2007.

External links last verified 2 September 2007.

All material at this site copyright 1997-2007, Kimberly Steele, unless otherwise noted or credited.
Links to pages at other sites are labeled as such.

You may print and reproduce materials from KIM'S KORNER FOR TEACHER TALK
for personal and educational purposes only.  If you share materials with 
other teachers, please include the URL and give appropriate credit.

Feel free to link to KIM'S KORNER FOR TEACHER TALK
as long as you explain that the link is to this site, just as I have done for links to other sites. 
Please do not copy my material onto your own website; that's stealing.  Use a link to my site instead.