It’s Back to School time and we are ready to roll!
In this blog post we are sharing tried and true first day of school activities that you can use with your students! This, by no means, is a complete list. We just picked 5 activities that we make sure that we cover the first week of school.
1. Greet Your Students
Before the students set foot in your classroom, make sure to greet them with a friendly smile and a “Good Morning!” We usually go out onto the playground as the students line up to come in on the first day. If your students don’t have recess before school, stand outside your classroom door and make sure that they see and hear you before entering. This sets a positive tone for their first day, and will take away some of the anxiety that some may bring with them.
2. Establish a Signal
On the first day, it is extremely important to establish both verbal and non-verbal signals for your students. These can be used throughout the school year and are amazing time savers. One of the first things we do when the students enter is introduce a verbal signal that we will use to get their attention. We tell the students that it will be an echo clap. So we may clap three times and have them echo clap it back to us. We tell the students to turn and talk to their neighbor about something fun they did over the summer. Then we do an echo clap when we feel they have had enough time to share. It is amazing how well they do that first day. This DOES carry over for the rest of the year too!
As far as a non-verbal signal, we like to raise our hand straight in the air. When students see this, they are to raise their hands as well, and stop talking. We practice this just like the verbal signal. A fun way to turn this into a game is to get out a stopwatch and time them to see how long it takes for the whole class to have their hands raised and quiet. Our class record is 4 seconds. See if your class can beat our record!
Respect is of paramount importance in our classrooms. We start the year off with a hands-on activity that is a sure-fire way to show your students that everyone is valued in the classroom. This excellent lesson that we have used is a visual reminder of what it is like if hurtful words are spoken. Students will compare the difficulty of putting toothpaste back into a tube of toothpaste to trying to fix hurtful words said to someone. Included is a detailed 2-page lesson plan for the teacher including: goals, materials needed, steps to follow, and three pictures for examples. You can find this resource by clicking here.
If you want to have a smooth start to the school year, you will want to establish classroom routines and procedures. From morning routines to dismissal, clear expectations are essential. We have created a resource that includes procedures for:
- Lining Up
- Sharpening Pencils
- Morning Routines
- Independent Work
- Guided Reading
- Substitute Teacher (yes, students need to have guidelines here for sure!)
Included with each procedure is a teacher idea page with purpose, teaching ideas, modeling and role playing that you can do with your class. Also included is a kid friendly poster that you could use with your students and possibly post for students to see on a daily basis. You can find the resource by clicking here.
5. Class Meeting
We want everyone to have a voice in our classroom, so for the first week of school we hold a class meeting at the end of each school day. We take about 15 minutes to play a cooperative game, share about how the day went, discuss what tomorrow will be like, and allow students to share anything they want with the class. Showing your students you care about them and value what they have to say will go a long way in establishing a strong relationship that will carry through the entire school year.
We would love to hear your tried and true back to school ideas as well. Please comment and we will be sure to respond back!