The first few weeks of school should be fun for everyone, teachers included! Here are some stress-free activities to consider:
Get to Know You Dance Game:
One of the first things I do with my new class is to play a name-dance game. First, I have all of my students stand in a circle. Then we go around the circle and each student states his/her name and does a special dance move. The trick is you have to repeat all the names and dance moves of the students that came before you. I always volunteer to go last so that I have a chance to practice everyone’s name. It’s a fun, interactive way to put a name to a face.
Anchor Chart Merry-Go-Round:
I post five large pieces of chart paper around the room with questions written on them. The questions are: What do you want to learn this year? What do you need to be successful in second grade? What do you like to do outside of school? What are some important rules in school? What kind of teacher do you want? Students move in groups to each of the five charts and use markers to answer the question. They get so excited to use the markers and write on chart paper! After everyone has been to each anchor chart, I post them around the room. We go over one anchor chart per day. I usually start with the rules anchor chart because it is a great transition to talk about a classroom contract!
My favorite book to read on the first day of school is First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. If you haven’t read it, it’s a great story about being nervous on the first day of school. There’s also a great ending twist that my students always enjoy. After reading the book together we then make a bar graph on how we felt on the first day of school.
Classroom Scavenger Hunt:
It’s important for students to feel comfortable in their new classroom. I give each student a list of ten questions to answer about our classroom. They have to walk around the room and fill in the answers. After about twenty minutes, I bring the class back together to go over the answers. The kids love exploring their new classroom and it’s an easy way to begin talking about classroom routines and expectations.
Incorporating these stress-free activities into the first few weeks of school can create an enjoyable and engaging environment for all, teachers and students alike! With these activities in your arsenal, I hope the beginning of your school year is poised to be both enjoyable and productive.