My Favorite Activities for the First Week of School
I love the first week of school. I am excited, the kids are excited and everything is new. It is a chance for everyone to start fresh. The first week of school is a great time to build a classroom community, practice routines and procedures and just help everyone get to know each other better. Below I have listed a few of my favorite activities to do with my class at the beginning of the school year. These activities are easy and fun but they give me a structured way to practice procedures for using supplies, coming to and leaving the rug, lining up and walking in the hallways etc. 1. Reading First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg I love this book. My class is always surprised when we get to the end of the book and they realize that the story is about a teacher who was nervous for the first day of school, not a student. After reading this I have my students complete the sentence "On the first day of school I had jitters about_______________." The students realize that everyone is nervous about something on the first day of school. Reading students responses gives me a chance to address some of their fears to help each student feel more comfortable.
2. Math Scavenger Hunt
On one of the first few days of math instruction I love to take my class on a math scavenger hunt. This activity gets my class excited about math and also gives them a chance to tour and become more familiar with our school building. I explain to the class that math is all around us. While we are on a scavenger hunt students look for anything that has to do with math (i.e. numbers on doors, shapes, angles. counting steps, estimating length/ width counting windows etc). Before we leave the classroom to go on this scavenger hunt I make sure to tell me class that this is a completely silent activity. Whenever they see something in our school that has to do with math they point to it and give a thumbs up sign. When we return to the classroom I let students share with partners and the whole class the various ways they found math in our school. My students always love the chance to get out of the classroom and this activity doubles as a great time to practice hallway procedures. 3. Get To Know You Ball Roll I feel that it is very important for students to get to know each other and find similarities between themselves and their classmates as soon as possible. To do a "Get To Know You Ball Roll," I have my class sit in a circle with legs crossed. I hold a ball. I call a student by his or her name and roll the ball to them. The student who receives the ball must respond with "Thank you (insert name of roller)" and then call another student by name and roll the ball to them. After students have learned the names of their classmates I vary this game by having a question for each round. For example one round might be "What is your favorite animal?" and each student must answer with their favorite animal before rolling the ball to another classmate. 4. Following the Rules or Not Following Rules Game I always like to turn learning the classroom rules into a game. It helps students become more excited about the rules. First we discuss our classroom rules and why each classroom rule helps us to learn and have a happy classroom. After the class has been introduced to the rules I like to play "Following the Rules or Not Following the Rules?" Each student begins sitting in their chair. I give the class a scenario (i.e. you stand on top of the tables and dance the hula). If the students think this behavior is following the rules they stand up, if they think this behavior is not following the rules they sit down. I try to include many funny and ridiculous scenarios along with realistic ones to keep the students interested. This game is very simple but my students always love to play it. I especially like that it gives an outlet for some of the wiggles that build up during the first few days of school. Comment below and tell me: What are your favorite activities to get your school year off to a good start?