In eight days I am going to have students sitting in front of me, expecting me to be prepared, rested, exciting, firm, strict, fun, easy going, and most importantly care about them. Of course all those listed come from a list my students have generated in the past about their expectations of their teachers. As we enter the beginning of the school year, I wanted to share some of the first day activities for you to either steal or borrow from if you would like.
First Day Name Games--
There are too many to count but I always like to ask students to share their name and an adjective that they feel represents them, but it has to begin with the same letter their names does. For example, I am "jabbering John."
Another one to test different classes is a name game where everyone stands in a circle and you have to throw the ball to someone. I would take the ball and shout across to Jenny "Here Jenny" and I would throw the ball to her. She would catch it and say "Thanks John, here you go Allison," and so on. Once you get through everyone you can add balls to the list and have a competition between the teams.
First Day Activities--
Get everyone to talk. Not just their name, but something else. I start class off with a question each day for students to share before we get to talking about anything. I start this on day one, so before I even introduce myself, I do the Question of the Day.
Also, talk about what students know or can talk about on the first day. I have a questionnaire that I have students fill out that has anything from what they want to be when they grow up to what expectations do they have for me. These questions are topics that most anyone can talk about on day one.
First Week Games: Communication Games--
Since so much of my class is discussion based and centered around the idea that we all need to listen and communicate with one another, I spend a lot of time in the first week playing communication games. Whenever you say "game" you almost always get buy in from your students instead of "let's have a discussion about how we communicate." There is a great collection of games that you can find online. I have my favorite ones that I like to use (Schmidt and Schmoo).
More Back to School Edition posts to come as we get back!