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First Day of School Ice-Breakers
First day back at school can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for teachers - What activities shall I do? First impressions are VERY important so what can we do to get our students involved in the learning experience - yes, even "play" is learning I have taught high school with the kds who have come out of jail, parents in jail, on probation etc and they enjoy these activities. My middle schoolers that I currently have enjoy them but tend to be more reserved. Some of them you may have heard of or used before. There are many many activities to use on the first day of school. This goes for public or private school education http://bjc.hubpages.com/hub/Public-or-Private-School
1. I start off by saying "my name is Mrs. , and _____, and if I could be an animal I'd be a Cheetah because I like to run. I give the students a few minutes to think about what animal they think they would like to be. THEN, Starting with the first child who says his/her name and the animal they would be like and why. For example, "My name is Susie and I'm like a turtle because I walk slowly. Then I repeat my name, "I'm Mrs. blab blab and I'm like a hyena because I like to laugh, this is Susie, and she is like a turtle because she walks slowly." This is repeated after each student as the teacher strives to remember each person's name-and-animal combinations in order.
This is fun and the kids have had a good time, thus making them more relaxed and ready to listen to what the teacher has to say. It also shows the students that it's okay to and by the time the last child has finished everyone is laughing because the teacher isn't perfect and it's okay.
This leads very nicely into the next activity.
2. On the first day of school, I have my students draw and color their name on a picture of a plain T-shirt on paper. They can decorate the T-Shirt how they choose and include info such as hobbies, favorite sports team, their family members, etc. When finished, the T-shirts are placed on the wall and the kids love it. . They add things about themselves, including their birthdays and their favorite things to do. The posters are then displayed on the wall in the classroom. Seeing their work displayed allows the student to take pride in their classroom and their work.
3. Students, You are a Detective! I hand out a Class Clue sheet to each student. We go over the statements on the sheet, and then I ask the students to quietly (in other words, no talking) fill in the blanks in statements such as:
- My favorite jpast time/hobby is.........
- When I grow up, I want to work as a ...........
- The most fun thing I did all summer was..............
- One food I cooked this summer was..........
- My favorite color is..................
Now, I tell the students I do NOT want them to put their name on the paper BEFORE handing out the sheets and again after the instructions.
When they have finished they quietly bring me their sheet, they pick up and read a book or magazine (Scholastic or something like that) off my desk and quietly read until everyone is finished. As a middle school teacher I have 50 minute blocks so if they take too long, then I set a time limit.
When everyone has finished answering the question on the sheet I hand an anonymous Class Clues and a blank Class Clues Sheet to each student. They should not have their own sheet, if a student does ends up with their own sheet, we swap again. Next I tell them, "Let's see if you can solve the clues." I instruct them to walk around the room and ask their peers questions from the list trying to locate the owner of the "missing" Class Clue Sheet. They like this as they get to talk and move around the room.
4. This is the equivalent of the old game, "I packed my bag and in it I put...." Yes, this is likely dating me :> Taped to the front of each desk is a 3-by-5 card and printed in big, bold letters that is easily read is the student's first name (I have made these ahead of time). The first person begins the game by saying his/her first name along with a rhyme, an adjective, or a nickname describing him or her. For example, "my name is Mary and I like math" or my name is James and I jump a lot". The next person does the same, and then repeats what the first person has said. and so on until everyone has said his/her name with the nickname, rhyme, or adjective.
The last person of course has to repeat everyone's name and info. The name cards on the front of the desks help as a reminder for everyone. Naturally, the teacher is the last to go and all the kids are focused to what he/she does. This is a Fun game that relaxes everyone.
5. On the first day of school, students write a letter to themselves. The children write a letter to themselves on the first day of school. In the letter they are to write about what their expectations are for the new school year and include what they would like to learn this year, their likes/dislikes from last year, what are they looking forward to the most - you can put anything that would apply to your students.
Start the letter with Dear (child's name). The students turn in the letters and they are put in an envelope, an individual one is better. At the end of the school year, pass the letters back to the students for them to read. The responses and reactions vary but it evokes discussion and individual reflection. This helps the teacher to know the students at the beginning of the school year and brings smiles and laughter from the children at the end of the school year.
6. Students write three things about themselves on a piece of paper - name, their likes, hobbies, what they're good at etc... Then the paper is scrunched in a ball - now we engage in rather precarious behavior as the students get to throw the "ball" at each other for about a couple of minutes - definitely no more. Now, at the end (you can have a timer or a bell if you like) have each student pick up the closest ball with the intention of finding who it belongs to. When everyone has located the owner of the ball, each person introduces the person whose info was on the ball by sharing at least three facts the person wrote.
It would be great if you'd like to share some of your ideas on activities for the beginning of the school year.
More icebreaker activities