The first week of school is here! As teachers, we typically want the beginning of the year to be filled with fun back to school activities to ensure our students get to know each other. During the first days of school, students are often out of routine and sometimes shy. However, I want activities that contain more than just getting to know you questions for kids, but fun classroom activities that encourage
Math About Me
Math About Me is a fun math activity for the first week of school. By about the third day, students are starting to get comfortable and they’re ready to start doing some work. Math About Me is an activity to find out more about your students using math equations. The students receive a graphic organizer and a list of questions to choose from. For example, one of the questions on the list is “How old are you?” The student would then create a math problem for the rest of the class to solve in order to get the answer.
Example: How old are you?
24-13=? 11 – I am 11 years old.
My students are always working hard to try and stump their classmates. It’s easy to differentiate this activity if necessary. Students have the option to choose the questions they want to use on their organizer.
Once the students have had their fun with the class, we turn them into posters for the hallway and it counts as their first math grade. Many of the kids decorate their poster and glue a picture of themselves in the middle.
Create a Vision Board
The beginning of the year provides students with an opportunity for a fresh start. It doesn’t matter who they were last year. However, as the days pass, students can quickly get caught up in the day to day routine of school and home. Often when people fall into a routine, it becomes robotic and we lose our purpose in showing up every day or we get caught in old patterns from the previous year. That’s why setting goals and achieving them is so important. It gives students purpose and motivation.
To keep the first week of school fun yet productive, we always create vision boards. A vision board is a collage of pictures and words that represent a person’s dreams and desires. They are designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation. Vision Boards are a fun way to plan long term and get students excited about their goals. It’s also a great way to visually see when they’ve accomplished their goals.
A Letter to My Future Self
To go alongside our goal-setting activity, I ask students to write a letter to their future self. Honestly, I would encourage teachers to do this as well.
I want my students to write this letter while they’re inspired, excited for the year, and before any limiting beliefs pop up. We typically open these letters on the third day of state testing (the first two days they are usually pumped up and motivated).
I also want this note to be encouraging and motivating. While I think it’s extremely important that teachers encourage their students, there’s something profound about students encouraging THEMSELVES. This sets the precedent for the rest of the year. My classroom is a place of encouragement and positivity. I want my students to learn how to pick themselves up and persevere through difficulties starting day 1.
Not only is it a great writing activity for the first week of school but it’s important to do this throughout the year. It encourages students to have a growth mindset.
Would You Rather
Would You Rather is a really fun back to school
- I can teach whiteboard procedures (this is on my list of procedures for the first week of school)
- The kids come out of their shell
- It’s just fun
If we finish early, I’ll let students make their own questions.
Brain Teasers & Community Building
Call me mean, but I’m all about pushing students to persevere even on the first day. I want them to know I’m not giving up on you, so you aren’t giving up on yourself. So I’m always looking for “
One of my favorite ways to get students working together is by telling them to make a circle around the room. Sounds simple right? But students always struggle completing this. Typically one or two students are willing to take the lead, some of them get distracted, some of them want to be told what to do and these are all things I want to know about a student right off the bat.
After they’re done I usually tell them my observations in a general sense and it makes for a good conversation. For example, I compliment the students that stepped up and solved the problem. As for the students that were more distracted or the students who sat back and watched, I try to keep this in mind. Sometimes this is a sign that a student is shy and needs more encouragement throughout the year.
Next, I ask students to put themselves in order, but I still want them to be in a circle. Usually, by this point, more people are starting to step up and take on leadership roles. Call me crazy but I make note of this too.
Once students are in order, even if it takes some help from me, we play a game. I ask students “getting to know you questions” or we do a few well-known back to school icebreakers. Then we toss a
Example – “What is your favorite color?”
I gently toss the ball to Student 1. Student 1 answers and tosses the ball to Student 2. Then Student 1 sits down. Once all students have answered the question – everyone sits up again and we do a new question.
Other Activities for the First Week of School?
These are just a few of my favorite activities for the first week of school. Do you have a favorite activity you look like to do