First Day of School Goal: A Valuable, Memorable, & Fun Day

First Day of School Goal: A Valuable, Memorable, & Fun Day | Remedia Publications
Oh the joys of the first days of school. The students are perfectly attentive. You still have all 24 No. 2 pencils that you bought on sale at Target. All 120 crayons are unbroken and in their box. The desks are perfectly aligned within the tape margins you placed on the floor. And you don't have any homework to grade!  During these days of bliss is the time to grab your students' attention and get the year started on the right foot. Give your students a valuable, memorable, and even a little fun, first day of school with these activities. 

This simple gesture gives each student some initial one-on-one attention that they will appreciate
young or old.  Greeting your students at the door with a firm handshake is a great way for you to get a head start on learning their names, welcoming them to a new classroom, and instructing each where to take a seat. Plus, it's never too early to teach children how to properly greet someone.  
Pass the Hula-Hoop
This team-building exercise is perfect for the whole class (including you) or for smaller groups. How to Play: Place a Hula-Hoop over one student's arm, and instruct everyone to join hands. Without letting go of anyone's hand, the team must find a way to move the hula-hoop all the way around the circle.

Wear a Disguise
This is a fun way to build into your science lessons for the year. You can go as simple or elaborate as you’d like. The point is to make your students believe that this is how you really look. The best way to go about this is to wear a set of Austin Powers/funky teeth. Wear them with pride, like these are your real teeth—sell it. After you’ve introduced yourself to your students (looking a bit ridiculous and probably slurring your speech), tell them you are going to jump right into the first activity. Great scientists have very good observation skills, so you want them to work on making observations. Ask the class to describe you. What do you see? What color is my hair? Do I have glasses? What color are my eyes? Am I tall? Am I short? What am I wearing? What do my teeth look like? You may have to prompt them and encourage them to make observations about your funny teeth. When you’ve gone through this mini-exercise on making observations, you can reveal your true identity and remove your teeth. Expect a few gasps and a big laugh! Now ask your students to turn to a partner and write five things they can observe about their partner. Encourage them you use one more sense besides sight.

Getting to Know Your Teacher

Meet the Teacher Equations 
Tell your students a bit about yourself by presenting a unique set of math equations on the board. See the example to the right. Students have to solve the equations to learn something about you. This will warm-up students’ math skills from the summer break, and it will help you see where you may need to review.  

Find Someone Who…
This classic first day of school activity gets students moving, talking, and meeting their classmates. Use this freebie or make your own. 

What kind of teacher do you want?
After you’ve explained your expectations of your students, lead them through a discussion about what they expect from a good teacher. You will be giving your students a voice while also learning about your students’ learning styles and preferences.  Ask them to tell you about the best teacher they’ve ever had, and what made this person a good teacher. Using an anchor chart, summarize and keep track of their answers.
This activity will also give you an opportunity to set the standards for how your classroom will run—hands raised before speaking, taking turns, etc.  Display the anchor chart all year as a reminder to you and your students. 

Two Truths One Lie
Students will be working on their creative writing skills on the first day and won’t even realize it.  Have students write two truthful statements and one lie about themselves. Then have each student present their three statements (in random order) and let the class guess which is the lie. The more creative their story-telling is, the harder it will be to guess what the lie is. This could even be a writing assignment for the first week of school. 

Mad-Lib Madness
Play a game of Mad-Libs using this first day of school story (or write your own story). Don’t tell your students what you are doing or that you are brushing up on their language skills. Just ask them for nouns, adverbs, adjectives, and other missing words to fill in the blanks. Encourage students to use descriptive and exciting words. As you fill in the blanks their curiosity will surely be peaked!  When the story is complete, reveal the story on your whiteboard. Ask one of your students to read it aloud and let the giggling ensue!  Students will likely want to do this activity again and again. You can even make copies of this freebie and have students pair off to complete their own funny story.

What's your go-to first day of school activity?