Ready to "cook up" a great first day of school? It's easy with this recipe for a successful start to the school year!
➤ Think about how you will set the tone for your classroom on the first day of school.
➤ Plan to keep students engaged and active.
➤ Prepare to build a positive rapport with students from the first instant that they become a part of the classroom community.
➤ Warm-Up Activity
➤ Get-to-Know-You Activity
➤ Game that gets students out of their seats
➤ Get-to-Know-the-Teacher Activity
➤ Writing Prompt
➤ Extension Activity
Once you've gathered your ingredients, you can get "cooking!"
STEP 1: Begin with a warm-up activity. Place an activity on students' desks that they can complete independently.
You might try a simple survey or poster. An All About Me poster is a quick way to learn about students. You can even gather them together for an awesome classroom display. Or, a survey is a wonderful way to collect information about students. You might include questions about where students like to sit, their favorite way to learn, and activities that they enjoy so that you can start connecting with students. Another awesome warm-up activity is an "All About You" name tag. Students answer questions about themselves while coloring in a name tag based on their responses. Then, students can place the name tag on their desks to help you learn your students' names. This activity is particularly awesome if you have multiple sets of students. You can collect the name tags and re-distribute them each day during each class while you learn names.
Oh, and as a bonus, you can gather them together and leave them with substitute teachers throughout the year!
STEP 2: Mix in a get-to-know-you activity. Give students a chance to share about themselves and learn about their classmates with an engaging get-to-know-you activity.
One of my favorites is a doodle-inspired mini-book. Students transform a single sheet of paper into a doodley mini-book all about themselves. After students make the mini-book it's fun to hang them on a clothesline. Then, as students finish their work during the first days of school, you can encourage fast-finishers to grab a classmate's mini-book and learn about him or her.
STEP 3: Scatter in an activity that gets students moving. Since students crave opportunities to get up and out of their seats, plan to get your class moving on the first day of school. You might have students complete a scavenger hunt or even play a learning game that requires students to move around.
I'm a huge fan of this simple get-to-know-you activity that gets students moving (and you can download it for FREE here.)
First, students make paper airplanes. They write their name and 3 interview questions on the wings. Then, students line up shoulder-to-shoulder and launch the planes. Next, they pick up a classmate's plane, find him or her, and ask the interview questions. You can repeat the airplane launch as often as you'd like!
Find everything you need to do this activity in this FREEBIE.
STEP 4: Sprinkle in a chance for students to get-to-know-you (their teacher). On the first day of school, students are very curious about you. They want to learn about you, so you'll want to be sure to share about yourself. You can give a simple biography of yourself, or you might try these easy and engaging activities:
Create a teacher interview question along with 4 or 5 prize cards for each student in your class. Then, tape the questions and the prize cards under students' seats before class begins. During class, explain to students that they all have something under their chairs. It might be a question and it might be a prize. If they get a prize card, have students keep it quiet. Then, call on students. They can either read a question for you to answer or reveal that they won a prize. If they won, you might give them a pencil, piece of candy, or a homework pass. You can find all my favorite questions HERE.
Or, you might have students complete a "Teacher Guess" about you. First, they predict the answers to questions about you. Then, as you reveal the answers, they earn points for every correct prediction. It's a fun activity that students truly enjoy! You can check it out HERE. STEP 5: Add a fun writing prompt to your back to school activities. A writing prompt is a great way to gather a baseline for students' writing on the first day of school. You might give students a simple prompt about their summer or goals for the new school year. However, I love to add a fun creative writing prompt into the mix.
For example, with this writing prompt students select a setting, character, problem, and 3 random objects. Then, they need to work them all into a story. It's fun, engaging, and a great way to see where your students are starting the school year.
STEP 6: Top it off with a review of tomorrow's warm-up. Set students up for success during your next day of school by quickly reviewing what they will need to do when they arrive to class. If you're planning to have students work through warm-ups like these This or That ELA warm-ups where students choose to do the "this" or the "that" activity, then you might quickly review what will be waiting on their desks when they arrive. STEP 7: Don't forget to have an extension activity just in case your lesson ends early. I love playing games like "Move If You..." which you can find for FREE HERE. While you may never get to the extension activity, it's a lifesaver if you need it!
When you're following this recipe for a great first day of school, you might want to:
➤ Greet students at the door and answer these questions for students right away:
➨ Where do I sit?
➨ Am I in the right classroom?
➨ What should I be doing right now?
➤ Also, be prepared to manage students' behavior on the first day of school. Ensure that you have a positive classroom management system in place and ready to use if you need it!
Thanks so much for stopping by,