The first week of school sets the tone for the entire year. It’s a crucial time for teachers to establish routines, teach procedures, and build strong relationships with their students. To help you make the most of this important week, I’ve put together 13 fun and easy essential ideas for the first week of school that cover everything from teaching rules and procedures to getting to know your students.
1. Morning Meeting
Start each day with a morning meeting to establish a positive classroom culture. Use this time to greet students, review the schedule, and engage in icebreaker activities.
2. Classroom Scavenger Hunt
Introduce students to their new learning environment by organizing a scavenger hunt. Create clues that guide them to different areas of the classroom, helping them familiarize themselves with the layout.
3. Classroom Rules Skit
Divide students into groups and have them create skits that demonstrate the do’s and don’ts of each classroom rule. This activity lets students see the way the “right” way and the “wrong” way to follow the rules.
4. Team Building Games
Plan team-building activities to encourage collaboration and cooperation among students. Games like “Two Truths and a Lie” or “Human Knot” promote communication and relationship building.
5. Classroom Expectations Gallery Walk
Create posters that showcase different classroom expectations and display them around the room. Have students walk around, read the posters, and discuss their understanding of each expectation.
6. All About Me Bags
Ask students to bring in a bag filled with items that represent themselves. Encourage them to present the contents of their bags, allowing everyone to learn more about each other.
7. “Find Someone Who” Bingo
Create a bingo sheet with different characteristics or experiences, such as “has a pet” or “has traveled outside the country.” Students then have to find classmates who match each description.
8. Interest Inventories
Administer interest inventories to gain insight into students’ hobbies, passions, and preferred learning styles. This information will help you tailor your instruction to their needs and interests.
9. Classmate Interviews
Provide students with a list of questions to ask their classmates. Encourage them to actively listen and take notes during the interviews. Afterwards, students can share interesting facts they discovered.
10. Personalized Name Tents
Have students create personalized name tents using cardstock or construction paper. Ask them to decorate the front with their name and draw or write something about themselves on the back.
11. Goal Setting
Help students set goals for the school year by discussing academic, social, and personal aspirations. Encourage them to write down their goals and periodically revisit them to track progress.
12. “Get Moving” Icebreaker
Engage students in a physical activity that encourages movement and interaction. For example, play “Four Corners,” where students choose a corner of the room based on their favorite food, color, or hobby.
13. Classroom Tour Videos
Create short videos of different areas in the classroom and show them to students. Highlight important locations, such as the library, supply area, and quiet reading nooks.
When you try any of these essential ideas in your class, drop a comment! I’d love to hear how they went! Already into your school year? Check out this List of Essentials for Re-Teaching Classroom Procedures Mid-Year instead!