With the start of a new school year upon us, I have put together a few ideas for the first day back at school. It is an exciting day for students and teachers and a lot of fun can be had if planned out ahead of time. Over planning is the key. When I was in the classroom, I always ended up having too many activities, which works out well. You never know exactly how long a project may take, so it is always better to have too many activities than not enough. That’s my motto! Make all the copies you will need for the day and place them in a file folder labeled “First Day of School Activities”. Be prepared and organized!
1. Create A Time Capsule
The first day of school is a great time for students to create a time capsule they will store away until the end of the year. Provide students with a paper towel role or a Pringles container. Have them decorate it however they want. When they finish decorating it, you can have them do different activities depending on their grade level. Have them do a writing assignment, trace their hand, and/or draw a self-portrait. Have the child write their name and date on the paper work. Roll up the papers and slide them into the tube and store until the end of the year. The last week of school, have them create the same activities they did on the first day. When they open their time capsule, they can compare the two and see how much they grew.
2. Bulletin Board Ideas
Put together a bulletin board that is eye catching and can display student work. Before the school year starts, you create the board. The first day of school, the children can do an activity that you will place on the board. For example, cover a bulletin board with a red and white checkered table cloth. Write the heading “Cooking Up A Great School Year”. Take a picture of each child in a chef’s hat holding a mixing bowl. Have the child write on an index card their recipe for success. Then post the cards on the board.
3. Read Alouds
There are many read alouds to choose from for the first day back at school. One read aloud I loved is the book Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. It’s a story about a young boy who helps an older lady who is losing her memory remember things she has done. After reading the story to the students, have each child bring in a box. It can be a shoe box, cereal box or anything they want. They need to have the box filled with 3 items that remind them of their summer. Then they are called to the front of the class to share their items and the memory it brings back to them of their summer. Currently on my website I am doing a giveaway and this is one of the books in the giveaway. Check it out and join the contest!
4. Ice Breakers
Plan activities for the first day of school that will get students working with each other and getting to know one another. A fun icebreaker is Two Lies and One Truth. In this activity, children write down on an index card two lies they make up about themselves and one truth. Have the children go around and read the three statements and classmates, and the teacher, have to guess which one is the true statement. Another fun icebreaker is People Finder. Create a grid of 3×3 squares. In each box place a fact. For example, I have 3 sisters or I went to my grandma’s house over the summer. Fill all nine boxes. Make copies and hand out to the students. The children then walk around the room and ask other students if they fit into any of the boxes. If they do, they initial only one box. Then they continue around the room looking for people who can initial the other boxes. This is a fun icebreaker!
Spend the first day of school not only on the rules and procedures of your classroom, but also on getting to know your students and letting them get to know each other!