Back to School Made Easy!
Well, Back to School time has arrived once again! I know, I know...we don’t speak of it. If we ignore it, maybe mystically the calendar will revert back to early July and give us some additional summertime! Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. But, I am here to make this transition from summer mode to school mode a little bit easier. I’d like to share with you all 5 of my favorite go-to activities for back to school. I rotate these activities over the years, so back to back classes don’t get the same ones and they are all kid favorites!
Activity #1: D-ice Breakers:
This is a fun one and you can use either big foam dice or splurge and get you some big inflatable ones! For each number on the dice, assign a “get to know you” or “ice breaker” type question. Make sure before the kiddos answer the question they roll, they introduce themselves! Some question examples are:
- Roll a 1: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- Roll a 2: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you
- have with you? (PS- there is NO cell phone service!)
- Roll a 3: If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would you
Activity #2: Snowball Fight:
This is a recent addition to my repertoire but, I can tell this one will be one students LOVE. On the first or second day, have students take out a sheet of notebook paper and write three things about themselves that people may not know. Make sure students do not write their names on the paper. Once they have written their three things, have them crumple up their paper and then have students throw their papers. Give them a minute or so and have them freeze wherever they are at.
Tell students that they must pick up one “snowball” from around them and quietly read the three facts to themselves. Once students have read their “snowball” - challenge them to go find out who those facts belong to. Give students roughly 2-3 minutes for this. At the end of the time, if there are any students who still have not figure out who their snowball belongs to, have them read their snowball aloud and have the owner raise their hand to claim it!
Activity #3: The Toilet Paper Game
This is truly a fun one! You’ll need a roll of toilet paper per class that you teach. For example, I have four core classes so I’ll need four rolls. If you are friendly with your school custodian, they may be able to get you some, free of charge! :)
At the start of each class, stand at the door with your roll of toilet paper and have students take as much or as little as they want to. Do not tell them why they are taking the toilet paper. Once you have all of your students in your classroom, and seated explain how the activity works.
It is pretty simple, for each square of toilet paper they have they have to say one thing about themselves. (This will be the part of class where that one kid that took half the roll is going to try to pawn off all of their squares to other people, instant regret!) You’ll get a lot of groans and moans- but you’ll definitely get a lot of laughter too!
Activity #4: Would You Rather?
This is a fan favorite in Room 708! Come up with (or find) enough Would You Rather questions for each one of your students. Here are a few of my favorites I have found:
Print off the question sets and cut them apart. Randomly number each question, this will make it where they won’t know who goes next! At the start of each class, pass out one question to each student. Use a random number generator and select which question will go next! Do this until all of your students have gone. You can save a few of these for those days when you have that unintentional “extra 5 minutes” at the end of class too!
Activity #5: Sticky Note Stations
This is an activity I found a few years ago and adapted for use in my classroom and it is definitely a great one to get the kiddos up and moving on the first day (or so!).
When students arrive to class, provide each of them with 8 sticky notes. In the top right hand corner of each sticky note, number each one 1-8. On a slide on the board, print 8 sentence starters you want the kids to answer. You can use questions like:
One goal I have for this year is to....
One trait of a great teacher is one who....
One thing I am looking forward to this year is…
And so on. Tell students to write only their answer on the sticky note. Don’t write the whole sentence starter! After they’ve answered all 8 questions, have them number off 1-8. All the #1s, get in a group - all of the #2, get into a group and so forth. Around your classroom, post anchor charts they have these question starters on them. At each station, they will discuss their answers and then post their answers on the anchor chart. Give them two minutes per question and have them rotate around all 8. At the end, have them (as a group) decide what they think the most important thing to remember from the day is. They will write that answer on an index card!
Of these 5 activities, which one will you be using this year?