Getting OrganizedI take the first 2-3 days to really work on learning students names and establishing some basic routines. (Okay, routines take a lot longer than that, but I get a good start on things that need to be in place fast!) Here are some ideas for you for your first days of school:
Family Information Cards & Student SurveyThese are great things to leave for morning work on the first day. In upper grades, most kids can complete at least some of the information independently, and teachers can see who doesn't know their phone number!
Supply SortI always forget this at the beginning of the year, but every student walks through the door and tries to hand the teacher all of their supplies. Get boxes or other containers ready so that students can sort supplies without asking you.
Getting Over the NervesEveryone is nervous on the first day of school - both students and teachers. I think it is really important to begin creating your relationship on the first day.
Read a BookSome teachers may chose to start their read aloud, but you could also select a short
book that you really love. Don't worry about it being about the first day of school - show your personality! Select a book that connects to you, your family, your interests, etc. I plan to read the book "Sparky" by Jenny Offill because it reminds me of my daughter,
Morning MeetingsIf you plan to hold class meetings, start the first day! It will help you to begin establishing your class expectations and routines. On the first day, you could have students share something about their summer, what they want to learn this year, etc. Class meetings will help establish your class community.
IcebreakersHonestly, I usually run out of time on the first day. There is just so much organizing and hustle and bustle that I can't remember things - and neither can your students. I like to send home an icebreaker as "homework" on the first day. My favorite icebreaker is one I created, called "Guess Who?" You only need copies of two pages, plus glue, scissors, and a pencil. I prefer to have students complete it at home so other students do not see their answers. Students complete the activity, naming their favorite colors, hobby, food, etc.
Over the next few days, I randomly select a few completed forms and read the answers. The class has to try to guess who it is before I run out of clues. Students absolutely love this activity - it is high engagement, even if the class thinks they know each other. I usually give a small prize (eraser, pencil, etc.) to students who stump the class. Once I read a Guess Who? form, I hang it on the hallway bulletin board - perfect for Back to School night!
What is your best back to school activity?