Sunday, August 3, 2014

Activities and Tips for the First Day of School

Where in the world has summer gone?! I swear- this was the fastest summer EVER. Due to the wedding planning, I feel like I literally had about 2 weeks. 

Here in Hawaii, we are officially back in session! The students started on Friday and we've been spending lots of time getting to know one another, building positive relationships, and of course, reviewing those procedures! 

Today I'd like to share some tips and favorite activities of mine to start off the school year.

The first day of school is always a little hectic with parents dropping off their child with bags and bags of supplies and then wanting time to talk with you. It's difficult when there are 10 parents, one teacher, and 28 little ones inside waiting for you to tell them what to do! 

Because of this, I always have a simple assignment waiting on each child's desk. 

I like to have them work on these All About Me Posters so that later in the day, the students who are a little shy have something to go off when sharing information about themselves. 
You can pick this printable up for FREE in my TpT Store

Sometimes your supply pile can get out of control and you may have a difficult time knowing what supplies belong to which student if they aren't labeled. A simple fix for this is to use Avery Address Labels.

Prior to students coming, I go ahead and type up 3 labels per student. That way when the parents come and hand you their bags of supplies, just stick a label on the bag. Once everything has calmed down you can sort supplies while students work on their All About Me Posters or at the end of the day. 

One thing that I have definitely learned over the years is that you can't stand in front of the class and talk about all of your routines and procedures all at once. These are kids…they will get distracted. Plus, they've been on summer break for a few months and aren't used to having to sit down nicely and listen to someone else talk. 

I like to break things up by going over one procedure and then moving on to a game or getting to know you activity.  Sometimes the activities are so simple- like the number pop-up game. I use numbers in my class so I randomly call out numbers and the students need to pop up out of their seats. So simple, yet the kids love it! 

Another fun Getting to know you activity I do in my classroom is with a beach ball. I write simple questions in each colored section. 

Questions I use are:
1. Where were you born? 
2. Tell us about all of the people and pets that you live with.
3. What is your favorite meal?
4. Who is your favorite person and why.
5. What do you like to do on the weekend. 

We gather in a circle and students toss the beach ball to someone across from them. When the person catches the ball, they choose the question that their thumbs land on. 

The next activity that I am about to share is about building a kind and caring classroom community. Students are given time to create a doll that represents themselves. 

Once they're all done students get into groups of about 4-5 students. I have them each pass their dolls around the circle while saying one mean thing to the doll. Each time they pass and say a cruel thing they are directed to tear the doll, crumple the doll, smash it, etc. We go around the circle once. I then have them go around 2-3 times saying kind things to the doll while taping it back up, or smoothing the doll back out. The students are sad as to what their dolls look like. 

We talk about how words are hurtful and once said, you can't take back the way you made someone feel. Even though nice things were said and apologies were given, the doll could never go back to being the same as it was when we started. Each tiny rip or crumple in the doll is like a hurt feeling that is held onto. This activity is usually a very meaningful lesson for the students. They are much more thoughtful about the things they say and do in and out of the classroom. 

That's it for today. I will be back later this week with more back-to-school tips and ideas! 

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  1. You have to realize that tips varies a lot.
    There are different tips for first grades students and higher forms ones.
    E.g. tips on academic essay writing would be useless because they simply dont need it.

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