Back to School Tips & Hints

WE ALL KNOW how important it is to start things off on the right foot!  The first days of school – in fact – the first encounter with students – is SO important in setting a tone for what happens the rest of the year, building relationships, establishing connections and achieving our ultimate goals.

Here our 8 first day activities, that can be modified for different ages and different settings, from the Powerful Learning Practice network, an awesome network of educators from around the globe.  Please share out your favorite first day activity, too.

Good luck on a new school year!

8 first day of school activities

Last week, we asked, “What’s your favorite first day of school activity?” Here are eight great ideas to break the ice, get students to warm up to one another, and establish rapport on the first day of school.

Carol VanHook uses Stand Up, Sit Down! to get to know her students

  1. If you have a dog, stand up.
  2. If someone other than you took the dog out to the bathroom this morning, sit down.
  3. If you have a cat, stand up.
  4. If someone, other than you, fed the dog or cat sit down.
  5. If you are an only child, stand up.
  6. If you are the youngest child in the family, sit down.
  7. If you are going to take a trip this coming Labor Day weekend, stand up.
  8. If you stayed up, past 11:00 last night, sit down.
  9. If you have received an A on an assignment during these past eight days of school, stand up.
  10. If you did not eat a good healthy breakfast….lots of milk product, cereal, fiber and fruits, sit down!
  11. If you helped a neighbor this summer, stand up.
  12. If you received a kiss or a hug, this morning from someone, sit down.

Directions: Stand if the item applies to you. Keep standing through the next item, unless it directs you to sit down. Hopefully, you will have many students standing when you get to #12. Very few will sit down on #12! Give these students a candy kiss or hug and say, “Everyone deserves a kiss (hug)!” — This leads to further discussions about pets, helping others, healthy eating and habits, traveling, etc. after the activity.

Cathy Beach uses Marble Maze: Small group challenge

Using only the materials provided (empty cereal/kleenex/duotang boxes, 3 large index cards, 1 empty toilet roll tube, pair scissors/person, 1.5 metre masking tape, and 1 marble, construct a maze so that your marble drops from a minimum height of 30 cm (12 inches) to the ground/surface in the longest amount of time possible. Minimum time must be greater than 3 seconds.

Christen Dodd gets them connected

I say get kids excited about being connected learners right away I would do two activities to get them excited about the possibilities:

Introduce Skype and share the intro to “Skype in the Classroom” video with students


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2 Responses to Back to School Tips & Hints

  1. Jen says:

    Great ideas!
    I love starting the school year off by growing TickleMe Plants in the classroom.
    The students run to my class each day to watch how the leaves of the TickleMe Plant fold together when they tickle them. It is a fun and easy way to get them excited about science and nature and opens their mind to many questions like. Do plants have feelings?
    I use the TickleMe Plant Book as a reference and it comes with the complete classroom kit.
    I got here. See video first if you never saw a plant move when Tickled!

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