The beginning of the school year can be overwhelming for all those involved. To make life a little easier for yourself (and help beat those first-day jitters), why not make a lesson plan before school starts and include some fun activities for you and your new students. Stuck for ideas? Get some quick inspo from these five crowd favorites that are guaranteed to make any first day of school a success; whether you’ve got first grade or high school students, there’s something for everyone!
1. Break the ice with… an icebreaker!
Kick off your first day of school activities with something simple and easy like an icebreaker – name games are a great way to get you started and help the students connect with one another. Give everyone equal opportunity to participate with a round-robin version where one student introduces themselves by saying their name aloud to the class, the rest of the class acknowledges the greeting, and then the next student addresses their peers in the same fashion. This is repeated until everyone has had a chance to speak. Learning your fellow students’ names is at the core of building a solid classroom community, which helps boost academic learning, so definitely give this introductory activity a go! The Kami Library has a great range of other icebreaker activities too (like Meet the Teacher and All About Me templates).
2. Get to know each other
Once the name games and icebreakers are out of the way, dig a little deeper with an ‘all about me’ page – hand every student a piece of paper and some crayons, and ask them to draw a picture that represents who they are!
This can include anything from:
Their favorite things
A family tree
This is a great activity for your new students to express themselves and show off their creativity. It also gives everyone an opportunity to learn a bit more about each other as you start to build a Kami-ly atmosphere. Once all the self-portraits and drawings are complete, you can display them on your classroom bulletin board. The Kami Library has some ready-made, printable All About Me templates and an alternative ‘getting to know you’ worksheet where students recap their summer vacation with emojis. Hello, quick and easy fun!
3. Set your expectations
Establishing effective class rules is an important first-day activity that should make its way into any back-to-school lesson plan. This one’s key to ensuring your first day of school runs smoothly (and the rest of the school year is a success), as it sets clear boundaries and lets your students know early on what you expect from them. You may choose to share this set of classroom rules as a PowerPoint or stick them up on a piece of paper on the bulletin board so students have a copy they can refer back to throughout the year. Go one step further by allowing your students to contribute their own expectations for the new school year. This collaboration-based approach to defining class parameters has been shown to help create a positive classroom community and promote deeper learning.
4. Engage with the space
Come up with a fun way for your students to become familiar with their new classroom, like a scavenger hunt where they have a set amount of time to find different items on a worksheet! Split the class up into groups for this to double as a team-building activity. Another great back-to-school activity you can try is giving your students a template to design their own learning space. Getting this buy-in from students is far more dynamic and engaging and also gives you a unique opportunity to find out what your students value in their classroom environment. The activity sheet can be completed individually or in small groups if you want to encourage teamwork.
5. Make a time capsule
Preserve this moment by creating a time capsule that you and your students can only open at the end of the year, on the very last day of school. For elementary students, grab a few crayons and encourage the kids to write or draw about themselves, including their current favorite things, favorite foods, TV shows they watch, etc. Middle school students might prefer a writing activity, like a letter to their future selves. Still, no matter their grade level, it’s always exciting to crack open a time capsule at the end of the year and see just how much has changed!
Go on, try out these first day of school activities with your new class, suitable for pre-k, all the way up to students in their last year. There are some great activities to lay the foundation for a fun and successful first week of school that can hopefully carry on throughout the school year. And if you need any more inspiration for classroom activities, Kami Library has a range of options to help you out – you got this!
Set you and your new students up for success with some pre-planned first day of school activities to have fun and learn more about each other.