If you’re like me, the new school year just seems to creep up on you… which is why planning ahead for that first week back is so important! Having fun ideas for the kids can help them feel comfortable in your classroom and build relationships with each other at the beginning of the year. Here are some of my favorite back to school activities for the first few weeks of school, as well as some tips to make sure you are starting the year off right!
Getting to Know You Back To School Activities
With so many new students and faces in your classroom, it’s especially important to have some back to school activities to get to know your students! Plus, these fun games will help students learn about each other.
Get To Know You Ball Toss
For this fun game, you will want to sit in a big circle with your class. The teacher will come up with questions for the kids to answer. Some questions you could ask are:
- What is your favorite animal?
- What is your favorite food? Favorite color?
- How many siblings do you have?
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
- Do you have any pets? What kind?
- Who is your favorite superhero?
You can get as creative with your questions as you’d like! After the teacher asks the question, they answer it while holding a ball. Then, they would toss the ball to another student who would say their name and answer the question before passing the ball to another student. The last student who gets the ball will then get to choose the next question. If they are stuck, you can use another prompt from the list above. This is one of my favorite things to do on the first day of school!
TeachStarter shares a fun back-to-school activity that will get your students up and moving around the classroom! In this classmate scavenger hunt, the teacher will ask the class to find one other student who meets certain criteria. For example, you could ask students to find someone:
- With blue eyes
- With red shoes
- Who has a pet dog
- Who likes to sing
- Who plays a sport
Or any other fun question you can think of. Next, students have to go around the room and find someone who fits that description! They will be able to talk with their classmates and get to know them in a fun way. This is an easy way to get gets out of their seats during the first days of school.
You can also create a classroom scavenger hunt, like the one found in this Back to School Activities Bundle. In this fun scavenger hunt, students will go around the room and find as many things around the room that begin with each letter of the alphabet. This can also help students learn about their surroundings and get used to this new place!
Back to School Activities and Crafts
Another fun way to get to know your students is by having fun crafts and activities that show their artistic side and get them writing! There are so many options to choose from, but here are some of my favorites:
- A flip book that lets students tell about themselves
- A pennant banner or “guess who” owl craft that is perfect for a hallway display or an open house
- Letting each student create some goals for the school year
- Using an organizer that lets students share about their summer
These are all of my favorite activities that I have used in my own classroom, and I even have a Back to School Bundle that includes each of these activities, games, and more! Whether you are looking for a sweet game to get to know your students, incorporate their math and writing skills, or give them a chance to be creative, there are truly so many options to choose from.
Back to School Books
Another easy way to incorporate some back to school activities is through reading! Books are the perfect way to teach important rules, help students feel at ease, and speak to them in a way that they can understand. Here are some of my go-to books for the beginning of the school year:
- First Day Jitters
- Lacey Walker Nonstop Talker
- A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School
- We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
- The Pigeon HAS to Go to School
- The Day You Begin
- Our Class is a Family
- Do Unto Otters
There are seriously so many wonderful books out there to teach different concepts, build friendships, and connect with your students. Whatever your goal may be, you can find a story to fit it perfectly!
Tips To Start the School Year Off Right
Starting a new school year can be overwhelming… Whether this is your first year teaching, you are changing grades, or you are a seasoned pro, there are always ways you can prepare for the new year!
1. Have extra lessons/activities ready
For example, one of my best tips is to over plan. It’s always best to have way more content than you think you will need rather than standing in front of a class full of kids with nothing to say. This is why my bundles (including the Back to School Activities bundle) include tons of different worksheets, games, crafts, and activities. You can pick your favorites, but you’ll also have backups in case you have more time than you thought!
2. Model, model, model
Another one of my favorite ways to prepare for the new school year is to plan on modeling every single thing multiple times, especially during that first week! It will take a few tries for students to catch on, and the repetition will solidify your procedures and how things are done in your classroom. You can model actions such as lining up for the day, how to get the class quiet and focused, and going over the daily schedule to keep them on track.
3. Practice consistency
On that note, it’s also important to keep everything in your classroom consistent. From day one, try to keep activities, centers, schedules, and routines consistent so students always know what to expect and what they should be doing. This will help decrease messy transitions, off-task or talking students, and students interrupting the teacher to ask what they should be doing for the rest of the school year.
4. Create classroom rules
And lastly, one of my favorite tips is to create classroom procedures and rules as a class! Doing this as a class is a great way to help your students feel as if they are part of a classroom community. It is a fantastic way to encourage them to follow the rules because they are the ones who created them! You can help guide students and give some example suggestions to get them started. Get out a large piece of butcher paper or poster to write them on. Once the rules have been created, have every student sign the rules as a promise to follow them, then hang them up for everyone to see.
Back to School Activities and Planning Ahead
The start of a new school year is always a fun and exciting time for teachers and students! Everyone is excited to be back with their friends and in a new classroom. Make sure you are prepared for the new year by grabbing the back to school activities bundle in my TPT store to use these awesome ideas in your own classroom!
And once the new school year has begun, start thinking about how you will teach other important subjects throughout the year! Check out my blog post about important reading strategies, small group addition and subtraction ideas, and how using guided math in your classroom can make a huge impact on your students!
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