DAYS OF SCHOOL
some activities you can do with students on the first day back to
school. Some are fun, some are valuable as learning tools, and
some are both.
This is something that often gets
overlooked. Although the students know your name, they do not
know you. Let them know some things about you. Let them know
where your grew up, where you went to school, your teaching
background and how long you have been teaching. (Unless it is
your first year. I have discovered that middle schoolers love
to torment first year teachers. Do not lie about being new,
but do not tell them unless they ask. My teaching partner
counted student teaching as her first year so you she would
not have to tell them it was her fist year.) Do not forget to
tell them about your family. The students will see you as a
real person if you share something about yourself.
Have the students
introduce themselves to you. Try to remember as many names as
possible. I turn it into a game for myself. During the first
week, I play "Name That Student" at the end of each
class. I take a class roster with me and move around the
classroom trying to guess each student's name. I work around
the room as many times as time allows. On the last day of the
week, I put the class roster away and work from memory. My
goal is to know every student's name by the end of the first
week, and this game usually allows me to accomplish that goal.
Create a seating chart
as soon as your class list is final. Be sure to allow for
flexibility, the first chart will more than likely have some
flaws. Even if you do not plan to use a seating chart
throughout the year, it will help you learn the students'
names if you use one the first few weeks of school. If
remembering names is a problem for you, put the students in
alphabetical order for the first seating chart. Most teachers
alphabetize by the last name; try alphabetizing by the first
and Rule Question and Answer Match
Write questions that
students might have about your policies and rules on index
cards. Write the answers on cards of a different color. Pass
them out to the students and have them try to match questions
to answers. You will accomplish three goals with this
activity. First, your students will become familiar with your
rules and policies. Second, your students will get to know
each other. Third, you will be able to see which students are
shy and which ones do not interact well with other students.
Pass out the textbooks
and let the students preview them so they can see what to
expect. Create a "worksheet" that requires the
students look over the table of contents, index, and glossary.
Ask general questions about the topics you will cover during
the year. While the students are working on the assignment,
you can officially check out the books.
Out Books from the Classroom Library
If you teach language
arts, have the students check out books from your classroom
library. Be sure to go over the procedure for checking out
books and returning them. A few students at a time can check
out books while the others are working on another activity.
The students will now have something to take home the very
If you want the students to have a
certain organizational method for their notebooks and
materials, do this the first day. Be sure to have a supply on
hand of simple materials such as dividers, paper, folders,
spiral notebooks, etc. for those students who are not prepared
the first day. They can then pay you back when they get their
materials. Hopefully, most students will pay you back.
Made Bulletin Board
Have the students
create something for a student made bulletin board. For
example, give each student a puzzle piece cut from posterboard
or tagboard. Have each student decorate her puzzle piece to
show her unique qualities. Items to include are name, hobbies,
interests, and family. Provide magazines and clip art for the
students to use if they are not artistic. Student can work on
this while you are checking out materials, assigning lockers,
Use you computer to
create student information cards. You can get four cards on
each sheet. Run copies on cardstock and cut them apart. File
this in a box for future reference. Items to include are name,
address, phone number, birthday, class schedule, parents'
names, and parents' workplaces and phone numbers. You will
have the information on hand when you need to call parents or
find the student when she isn't with you--no more running to
the office and bothering the secretary.
Learning Styles Inventory
Give your students the
learning styles inventory to determine how they learn best.
This will be beneficial to both you and your students. Links
to assessments are below. Some assessments can be taken online
while others will need to be printed and hand scored. Not all
of the assessments look at the same traits, so please look at
all of them before making a decision.
to other ideas for first day activities:
to Know You: Activities for the First Day of School
-- found at Education World
Great Ideas for the First Days of School --
found at Education World
MORE Activities for the First Days of School
-- found at Education World
for Getting Acquainted -- found at
Bakersfield City School District