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Back to School: Six Activities for the First Week

Back to School: Six Activities for the First Week

July 18, 2016

The start of a new school year can be an exciting yet scary time for students. Students are anxious to see who will be in their class, catch up with friends, and learn their schedule. Creating a happy and relaxing classroom culture during the first week will help relieve students’ back-to-school anxiety and set a comfortable environment for the rest of the year. Help ease your class into the new school year with these six first-week-of-school activities.

1) Learn their names

Take a photograph of each student, and create a seating chart that you can use until you can put names and faces together. Involve your students by asking them to bring in a favorite photograph taken of them over the summer. Make sure to keep this seating chart on file for substitute teachers.

2) Play a game

Get to know your new students by playing a game that gets everyone involved. Create a line down the center of the room; a piece of tape works best, but a row of desks will do as well. Have students begin on the same side of the room. Ask the class an ice breaker question and if they agree with the statement they must switch to the opposite side of the room. Have them switch back before you ask the next question. For example, ask your students if they have more than 3 brothers or sisters, if they do, they must switch to the other side of the room.

3) Take a test

At the beginning of the year, quiz your students on their subject knowledge to discover each student’s current level. At the end of the school year, administer the same quiz to show your students how much they’ve learned.

4) Find new friends

Making new friends can be intimidating for many shy students. Help your class get to know one another by making time for icebreakers. Conversation Jenga is a great way for students to get to know their classmates. Tape different conversation topics or suggestions on each tile, create random playing groups, and have students share the question and their answer from the tile they pulled. By writing your questions on tape, you can reuse the Jenga tiles throughout the year for study sessions and quizzes.

5) Give a gift

Start the year off with a sweet treat for your class. At the end of the day, send students home with some sugar and a sweet message. Just make sure candies are wrapped properly, are allergen free, and are allowed by your school. Here are some free printables that you can use for SmartiesStarburstsBubbles, and cookies.

6) Make memories

Create a photo frame celebrating the beginning of the school year. Take a photo of your class with the frame on the first day of school, and display it on the last day to see how they’ve grown. You may even want to save this photo to share with students and their families on elementary, middle, or high school graduation day!

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