Updated: Feb 23
There is so much to think about at the beginning of a school year. If you are anything like us, our heads are exploding with to-do lists, ideas, school expectations and more!
But, it is also important that we put the time and effort into planning valuable lessons for your students during the first week too, after all, the students are at the heart of our classrooms.
We have put together 5 great activities that are ideal for the first week of school. Hopefully, these will help kick-start your planning and save you some precious teacher time in the process:
1. Class Detectives
This game can be played with classes of all age groups and the students are guaranteed to love it. Give each student a small number of questions to answer about themselves (we have included a free template for you at the end of this blog post). Collect everyone’s papers and put them into a hat or jar. During lesson breaks or any extra time you may have throughout the day, randomly choose one students answer to read to the class and remember to keep their identity secret. The class need to work out who you are talking about merely by listening to the clues.
2. Goal Setting
This one can be tricky for younger students, but it is so important that we model and teach children of all ages how to set goals. Collectively, we have tried many different ways of doing this, from setting SMART goals for older students, to choosing goals from a list for younger students. We also have two goal setting tools that you may find useful at the beginning of the school year, Growth Mindset Desk Plate and Lighting up the year 3D Display.
3. Icebreaker games
These are a great way to get to know the dynamics of your new class, as well as beginning to learn student names. Two of our favourite icebreaker games we like to play are 2 truths and a lie and the m&m, skittle or dice game where each colour or number on the die is a different question.
This is a great beginning of the year activity and a wonderful way to brighten your classroom straight away. There are a couple of ways we have done this activity. One idea is to give your students a large sheet of paper (A3 or bigger), plus a template of glasses that has lines on them. The students draw a portrait of themselves with the glasses and on the lines, they record a recount about an event from their holidays. Alternatively, we have used our B2S selfies in our Back to School Activity Packs. Students can take a photo using the digital version, or they can draw themselves. The class will love seeing their portraits on display and it will immediately give them a sense of belonging.
5. Our Classroom Brainstorm
It is vital at the start to set up classroom routines and establish your classroom agreement aka rules. We like to complete a class ‘Y chart’ on what students want their classroom to look like, sound like and feel like. Another way, is complete an anchor chart on ‘A good classmate... is, says, can, is not'. Remember to keep the class copy you complete handy so you can revisit it through the year when necessary.
Back to school is an exciting and daunting time. Enjoy meeting your new students, getting to know them and we wish you the best year ahead of learning together.
Free eBook filled with excellent resources written by amazing Australian and New Zealand Teacher-Authors. Get your copy here!
You can find more Back to School Activities in our B2S Packs
We run a Facebook Group dedicated to helping New Teachers. Please come and join us; we would love for you to be part of our supportive community.
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