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17 Fun First Day of School Activities to Try This Year
Reviewed by Meredith Melvin, B.Ed.
Easily differentiate learning and engage students with Prodigy Math.
- Teaching Activities
Whether you’ve been teaching for years or it’s your first day as a full-time teacher, the first day of school is usually accompanied by some anxiety — no matter how prepared you might be.
It’s the same for students. Uncertainty about friends, teachers, and schoolwork is enough to make even the most extroverted students a bit nervous.
With that in mind, you should always consider that first day of school activities can stimulate introductions, get students talking, and set the tone for successful classroom management .
Get inspired by these 17 fun, creative first day of school activities and try them out yourself. They’re easy, free, and guaranteed to ease the tension on a busy, hectic first day of school.
Plus, we've added some of our favorite remote- and social distancing-friendly activity ideas toward the end.
1. Prodigy Math
Try Prodigy Math — a curriculum-aligned game-based learning platform for grades 1 to 8 — to engage your class while reinforcing lesson content and teaching essential skills.
Borrowing hyper-engaging elements from video games, students use Prodigy Math to compete in math duels against in-game characters. To win, they have to answer sets of skill-testing math questions. It's a great way to get kids excited about learning on the first day of school and beyond.
Prodigy uses adaptive learning and differentiated instruction principles to personalize learning.
Use it on the first day of school to get valuable student insights , pre-teach upcoming concepts and understand learning progress all year round.
Plus, there's a Placement Test that starts gathering insights as soon as students start their first math battle, and automatically runs every January and August .
The Placement Test determines the math content students see in-game and places students at the grade level that’s right for them. It’s the baseline that all their other math work in Prodigy builds on.
2. Find a friend
The “Find a friend” game is a fun activity designed to help students become comfortable with their new classmates. To play, students must first receive worksheets containing a list of topics — such as sports, foods, games, and so on — from which they must pick their favorites.
Image source: First Grade Schoolhouse, Teachers Pay Teachers
Distribute the worksheet to students, and allow five minutes or so for everyone to indicate their favorite categories with a pen or pencil. You can create your own worksheet or access free printables such as the one above.
Then, have students find fellow classmates fitting the description in each box. This will give them a natural talking point as they meet one another — helping them find what they have in common and sparking friendly interaction .
- Students can list each classmate only once on the worksheet
- Students should spell names correctly; when they find a friend to add to their sheet, they should ask the friend how to spell their first name
- You can use this chance to have students show you their best handwriting, setting a good precedent for the school year
3. “Who’s new?” word search
Use a free word search generator such as Discovery Education’s puzzle maker to create a word search using the names of your students as the hidden words. Print copies to place on each desk.
Students will enjoy searching for their names along with those of their classmates. After 10 minutes or so, students naturally begin helping each other — kindling conversation and facilitating introductions.
4. Thanks for the compliment!
This lighthearted, confidence-boosting icebreaker encourages students to share compliments about one another.
To start, every student gets a blank piece of paper taped to their back. Then, each classmate thinks of a compliment to write down on the back of every other student.
After the entire class is finished, have students remove their papers and read all the compliments they received in front of the class.
Review with your students what a compliment is (and isn’t) to be sure all compliments are appropriate.
5. Let's decorate
Invite students to help decorate the classroom — sending the message that their opinions are valued, their voices are heard, and you welcome their presence .
Split the class into four groups and designate each group to a wall. Distribute materials such as markers, posters, tape, and pieces of chart paper. For a personalized touch, have each group come up with one common goal they wish to accomplish in your class, and to summarize it in one word.
Next, have students write their words in big letters on the chart paper, ensuring each group has a unique goal.
Once the class is finished, hang them on each designated wall, encouraging your class to embrace the responsibility of making sure they all achieve the goals they set for the end of the school year.
6. “Would You Rather” Questions
Lead, guide, and stimulate healthy debate among students with a set of questions that are sure to get the classroom talking.
Consider a few examples of “would you rather” questions, such as:
- Would you rather play outdoors or indoors?
- Would you rather see a firework display or a circus performance?
- Would you rather go skiing or go to a water park?
- Would you rather everything in your house be one color or every single wall and door be a different color?
- Would you rather visit the international space station for a week or stay in an underwater hotel for a week?
To keep the class on the same page, consider preparing a few questions on a printable such as the one below.
7. Group contracts
Write group contracts containing guidelines, and have everyone sign them to foster effective student group work and good behavior in the classroom.
Group contracts — an important feature of cooperative learning — should be based on expectations students and teachers have for one another.
You can collect the class’s thoughts by talking about what the ideal group member does, and how he or she behaves. Once you’ve come up with the contract, brainstorm with students to come up with consequences for breaking expectations.
Image Source: The Creative Colorful Classroom
For example, in the flexible seating contract above, students agree to use the learning space appropriately. If they break the contract, students agree “that my teacher will move me to a spot that will better meet my needs.”
8. Student surveys
Use surveys to collect and assess information about a broad range of topics that will help you get a feel for your new students and guide them to success this school year.
Consider asking questions about preferences for seating arrangements, group work versus individual work, and noise levels in the classroom.
Use this information to get a better sense of trends in the classroom. See if you can use the information to differentiate instruction, assessment, and evaluation to improve the learning environment.
One of the qualities of a good teacher is the capacity to use different teaching strategies — especially ones that are responsive to different students’ unique learning preferences.
For example, consider taking a survey of how students like to learn, asking the following yes or no questions:
Endless engagement. Adaptive content. Standards-aligned.
Join millions of teachers using Prodigy to make math and English fun, differentiate instruction and help students love learning!
9. Classroom scavenger hunts
Send your students on a classroom scavenger hunt, helping them to get to know each other and their new learning space .
Provide a print-out of classroom items to look for, leaving a space for students to write a brief description of where they found each item.
The completed scavenger hunt sheets can serve as an easy reference for students in the first weeks of school to ensure they know where to find everything in your classroom.
You can make the list of items yourself, or use a free printable such as the example below.
10. Two truths and a lie
Encourage students to write down three statements about themselves, with one of the statements being false.
After giving students five minutes or so to write their sentences down, have them read them out loud one by one — and enjoy the entertainment as fellow students try to guess which of the statements is a lie.
This activity also serves as a simple, early way to get a gauge of the skill levels of your new students : As your new students write out their sentences, you can walk around and see which students need help might need help with written communication.
As they read out their sentences, you can also gauge verbal communication skills.
Be sure to give students an example by sharing your two truths and a lie first. Students always love learning about their new teacher too!
11. Class time capsule
Create individualized time capsules on the first day of school. Fill them with items such as personal letters about what students plan to accomplish throughout the school year.
Letters can include expectations, clubs they would like to join, and desired grade point averages.
You can also take pictures of your students on the first day, print them out, and put them inside the time capsules.
On the last day of school, return each student's time capsule and allow them to see how much they have learned, grown , and achieved throughout the school year .
12. Tall Thomas
Encourage students to think of an adjective to describe themselves. The adjective must suit the student and must also start with the first letter of their name — for example, “Tall Thomas,” “Funny Frankie,” or “Smart Sam.”
Encourage students to try and memorize every name to add a skill-testing element to the activity.
Have the class stand in a circle, and then have one student state his or her new nickname. Then, have the next student try to name the previous name before saying their own name.
Make sure to keep the activity lighthearted and fun. Feel free to stand in the circle and join the fun to further engage with your students!
13. Don’t answer
Ask your class to stand in a circle. Have one student engage with another classmate, and pose the other student a question about his or her personality. To clarify, give students a few examples: “What is your silliest habit?” or “What is your pet peeve?”
However, explain that the student who is asked the question may not respond — with the student to their left answering for them. Note that the answer doesn’t have to be right and that each student can make their answers as imaginative or creative as possible .
14. Draw a Self-Portrait
Provide a self-portrait worksheet such as the one below as an easy beginning-of-year activity. When everyone is finished, have each student present their self-portrait to the class as a formal introduction to their colleagues and to yourself!
15. Be unique
Have everyone stand in a circle. Encourage each student, one by one, to say something they believe to be unique about themselves. For example: “My name is Jason, and I have two brothers” or “... and I speak three languages.” If another student also has two brothers or speaks three languages, they must sit down.
The goal is to stand as long as possible and therefore to share very special things about yourself that no one else typifies .
16. Six word story
Get students to explain what they did over the summer using only six words , writing the statement down as a complete sentence on a piece of paper.
Then, have students exchange papers with a classmate, with that colleague also adding a comment comprised of only six words. You may choose to rotate the papers to adjust the length of the story to your preference!
17. The question web
This activity helps students learn interesting facts about one another. Have your students stand in a circle. Next, take a ball of yarn or string and hold on to the end of it while passing the ball to another student.
Ask this student an interesting question such as “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?”
Once they have answered the question, have them pass the ball of yarn to another student in the circle and ask them a question. When all your students have had their turn, explain that the web they created represents the uniqueness of your classroom — and that their participation makes the classroom a special place for learning and creativity.
First day of school activity ideas for remote learning or social distancing
Create your own virtual background.
If possible, have older students create their own virtual background on whatever video conferencing tool you use. They can even make it themed to a favorite hobby, video game, book, movie, etc.
Create a Google Classroom banner quilt
Have your students collaborate on a blank Google digital classroom quilt square or add their names to a Google Classroom banner template to use in your traditional or online classroom.
Set up a fun Kahoot quiz
Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes. Whether you make the quiz about yourself, fun facts about your school or students, or even subject-based questions, your class will have a blast.
Go over online learning best practices
This doesn't scream "fun" but, at the start of a school year, it's always a good reminder to review classroom rules — especially with the challenges that learning online poses.
This could include things like routines and procedures for online learning, how to get the teacher’s attention, turning the camera or microphone on and off, changing video backgrounds, or anything else that's relevant to your specific class.
Final Thoughts: first day of school activities
It’s important to pair fun and kindness with clear and firm expectations — so think of the first day of school as your chance to demonstrate your ability to conduct activities that are both enjoyable and orderly.
See which activities on this list appeal to you most, and try them out yourself as a memorable back to school introduction!
And whether it's with Prodigy Math or any of the other first day of school activities listed above, we encourage you to get involved, too! Play with your students.
It's a perfect way for you to truly learn about your new students and for them to learn about you!
Prodigy Math makes it easy to engage students all year long with fun, adaptive math practice. Get teacher tools for differentiation, assessment and gathering insights when you sign up for your free teacher account today!
20 Teacher-Inspired Ideas for the First Day of School Activities
The first day of school can be an exciting time for teachers and students, but it can be an anxious time, too. What can you do to make sure your students (and you!) feel at home in the classroom on that first day? Here are some teacher-inspired first day of school activities for primary school children and ideas that teachers can use in their classrooms this back-to-school season.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy for more information.
Do you ever wonder what to do on the first day of school with your students? The first day of elementary school is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for both students and parents in all grades. It marks the beginning of a new adventure as children explore new ideas, make new friends, and learn to navigate their ever-growing independence.
No matter how prepared a student or teacher may feel, it’s normal to have some butterflies in your stomach on the big day. With the right attitude and preparation, however, the first day of any grade in elementary school can be a wonderful experience that sets the tone for a successful year full of growth and exploration.
How can teachers help students make the transition from a summer at home to school on the first day of a new year?
Check out these fun first day of school activities that will help students get to know one another and learn some new things too!
20 First Day of School Activities
Here are 20 surefire tips that will make your first day back to school a success! Scroll to the comments to see even more ideas!
1. Read First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg
First Day Jitters is a great book to break the ice with your students. There are several activities for the first-day jitters book.
To make it extra special, serve Jitter Juice! Then, have students write YOU a letter with ideas on why you shouldn’t be nervous. It’ll get a few kids thinking about their own jitters, and maybe they can help each other, too!
This is an excellent way for students to reflect on their feelings about the first day of school and make meaningful connections with the text as well.
2. Do a classroom or school tour
Show your kiddos where all the classroom supplies are and help them to know what areas are for them, and what areas are for you only. Are students new to the school?
Take them around and show them where the bathrooms, the gym, the cafeteria, etc. Teach them the computer lab rules and lunchtime procedures. Incorporate a scavenger hunt and you’ve got a fun-filled day!
If your social studies standards include learning about maps, this is also a good time to lay a foundation for classroom and school maps. Take a look at this blog post for some good map skills ideas.
Take it a step further and create a scavenger hunt for students. Creating a scavenger hunt as a first day of school activity is an excellent way to engage students and break the ice on the first day. The teacher can create questions or tasks related to the classroom, school, or surrounding area, and have students work independently or in teams to find the answers.
This simple activity will help students get to know their classmates, the school grounds, and the teacher better – all while having fun! For added structure, time limits or points for successful completion can be implemented. A scavenger hunt can also be used as a creative way for teachers to introduce themselves and have students share information about themselves.
3. Make a picture keepsake
Don’t forget this one! Take a picture of each student on their first day back to school, then take one on the last day of school. Turn it into a keepsake at the end of the year.
Better yet, let students draw a self-portrait on the first day, and then again on the last day. Compare! They might have changed, and their drawing skills will surely have, too!
4. One-on-one time
One of the key first day of school activities that I always make a point to do is to spend a few minutes one-on-one with each student. Get to know them, introduce yourself, giggle, and encourage them. Making that personal connection on the first day is so important! You may get some teacher inspiration and insights into your students that you can use all year long!
As you meet with each student take along a clipboard or sticky notes. Jot down a few memorable notes about the student. At the end of the day, gather these notes together. Reflect on your class as a whole. What makes each student unique? How can they be an integral part of your class?
Take it a step further and turn these notes into words of encouragement. Write on students’ desks and leave a note about what you love about each student.
5. Back to School Craftivity
Ready for some downtime at the end of the first day? You might need some, too! This is one of my favorite activities for the first day of school.
It allows the kids to wind down and still be productive. In this Back-to-School Bus Craftivity Flap Book students tell about themselves, review the rules, reflect on their day, and think about being a good classmate.
It makes a fun keepsake, too. Parents will thank you!
6. Teacher Q&A
Have fun with this one in a couple of different ways. Sit in a circle with your students and let them ask you questions like: What’s your favorite food? Color? Animal? Candy? Etc.
Or, make a quiz and see if they can guess the answers to these questions.
It’s a great way for your students to know more about you, a very important person in their day.
This is also a great opportunity to establish a community circle routine . Using a community circle in the classroom is an effective way to foster empathy and collaboration among students. A community circle creates a safe, non-threatening space for students to discuss their ideas and feelings with each other.
It allows for a greater understanding and appreciation of different perspectives, which can help reduce conflict in the classroom. By creating an environment where all students are respected, learning becomes more meaningful and engaged. Community circles also provide opportunities for teachers to guide conversations by introducing topics and raising questions that will help strengthen relationships. In this way, students are encouraged to think critically and find creative solutions to problems together.
7. Don’t forget you on the first day of class!
This one’s for you. If you haven’t already done so, go to your classroom well before school starts, organize your desk, pour yourself that coffee, and put all that dark chocolate in your drawer.
This blog post about my favorite Teacher School Supplies will give you a few more ideas to add to your teacher area!
Walk through the school to get a feel for what the school climate will be, and meet the people you will be working with this year.
8. Make a classroom cheer
Who doesn’t love a team cheer? Sit down with your students and brainstorm a catchy classroom cheer you can use throughout the year. Talk about team spirit!
9. Discuss classroom expectations
Do you know what your students expect out of the year? Do they? Make an activity with them to list their own personal goals for the school year .
This blog post has some great anchor charts that show how students define good friends, their role as a student, a teacher’s role, and their parent’s role. It’s a great starting point for a discussion about classroom expectations.
10. Build community
Make a mission statement or class pledge/promise, and recite this each morning. Making a class mission statement aligns well with student goal-setting .
Once students define who they are as a community , they can set goals that align with the mission statement.
I love using this Community Building Puzzle on the first day of school. I leave a puzzle piece on each student’s desk first thing in the morning. As students come inside, they find a seat, write their name on their puzzle pieces and decorate it.
11. Name labels
Make name cards for desks, lockers, or cubbies. Allow students to write their own names, and let them decorate a border around it. Laminate, and voila!
Each desk or cubbie has a personal touch. At the end of the year, you could even add the name tags to students’ portfolios.
12. Beach Ball Ice Breaker
Take a permanent marker and write questions on a beach ball. Sit in a circle with your students and toss the beach ball to each other. Each time a student catches the ball, they answer any of the questions visible, then toss it to someone else.
A fun way for students to get to know each other and you!
13. Survey Students
Create a blank bar graph on chart paper or better yet, create a horizontal and vertical bar graph. Use it throughout the day and week to survey students about various favorite things. Give each student a sticky note. As a question and have groups of students place their sticky note in the correct columns.
Your students will love the interactiveness of sticky notes and placing them on chart paper! This really is a cheat sheet for you to get to know your students better AND you can weave in some math skill work, too! Teachers will learn about important ideas about their students, too!
When I was a kid, I loved filling out little surveys that asked me all about me! Other than the standard questions about their hobbies, siblings, or their summers, don’t forget to ask some silly questions, too, just to make it extra fun!
14. Encourage your Team
Be a team encourager! Put together a small gift for everyone on your team (or the whole school staff). Include a note wishing them the greatest year ever.
This Pinterest Board as a ton of ideas for Teacher Gifts.
15. Rules and Procedures and Routines
While you’re busy making this the most fun first day ever for your students, don’t forget the classroom rules and procedures .
Don’t skip this.
It is an essential part to make sure your school year runs smoothly. Knowing what is expected of them is of great benefit to your students. And let’s be honest, with you as well!
16. Party! Party! Party!
How exciting is the first day of school? Exciting enough for a welcome-back party!
No, really! Why wait until the end of the year?
Serve baked goods, orange or apple juice (or jitter juice! See #1), and bananas and grapes.
Include circle time to share summer stories, and dance those jitters away!
17. Eat lunch with your students
Consider eating lunch with your students at least a couple of times a week. Especially on the first day, it is important to show your kids that your class is “family.”
18. Read aloud – lots!
Reading out loud to your students often instills a lifelong love of reading in their hearts.
Choose quality books, ones that take their nervousness away, make them laugh, or build their self-esteem and team spirit.
Don’t be afraid of classics with harder-to-understand language. Kids are able to fill in the gaps, it builds their vocabulary, and when the storyline is riveting, they will get it.
The first day back at school is a great time to relax with your students and just read to them.
19. Student Gifts
Give each student a gift at the end of the day, congratulating them on a great first day. If you have a classroom theme, you might want to consider a gift that matches that theme!
Last, but not least: Smile! Be a positive you. Be approachable, laugh, and enjoy yourself!
Do you have More First day of School Activities?
So do many of my readers! Scroll down below to see even more teacher-inspired activities and ideas for the first day of school.
Do you have any go-to back-to-school traditions or first day of school activities that you do every year? Leave a comment below to share it with us!
More Back-to-School Ideas and Activities
Are you looking for more back-to-school ideas? Here are a few more:
- 9 Ways to Start the Year Off Right
- Five Things to Keep in Mind on the First Day of School
- Cooperative Learning Activities for the First Day of School
- 3 Tips to Get Ready for Back to School
- Teacher School Supplies You Can’t Live Without
- 80 Sponge Activities: A Teacher’s Guide to Making Every Minute Count
- Virtual Icebreakers for Distance Learning
- Create a Time Capsule
6 Tips For Writing the Perfect First Letter Home
The 7 Best Back-to-School Blog Posts
8 Virtual Icebreakers – Back-to-School with Distance Learning
20 More Teacher Inspired Ideas for the First Day of School
Five Cooperative Learning Activities to do on the First Day of School
How To Build Community in the Socially Distanced Classroom
67 Engaging Questions to Build Community in Your Elementary Classroom
Effectively Teach Classroom Procedures in Elementary School
Building Classroom Community During the First Few Days of School
Read more . . ..
Fluency Strips for English Learners
Climate Zone Sort Third Grade Science Station
Short O Phonics Worksheets – Short O CVC Words
Seeds of Kindness Spring Craft and Writing Activity
On thing I always do on the first day of school is have my students do an information card– this helps me randomly pull students names the next few days when I’m still getting to know their names!
I teach first grade, and I always do a ‘tour’ of the classroom. They get to see where the supplies are, and this is a time for me to define teacher and student areas.
I really love reading “First Day Jitters” on the first day of school and having students write a letter to the teacher about why she shouldn’t be scared! It is so cute at really any grade2-5!
I have a giant metal bowl that the students sit in one at a time. Each student gets to sit in it, we say their name and spin them in the bowl to get to know each others names. They love it:)
One thing I always do on the first day of school is get my students to think outside the box & complete breakers that emphasize team building, etc.
One thing that I do on the first day of school is I have my students complete an information sheet. It asks questions like what is their favorite…color, animal, food, dessert, candy bar, book, television show. What is the most interesting place they have been. What do they want to be when they grow up. Who is the person they most admire. I collect these sheets and each week one is pulled and I read the answers. Students quess who they think the owner is. The owner then reveals themselves if no one selected them. The owner is then the student of the week.
At the end of every school year, I have my students write letters to the new students who will be in my class the next year. I pass them out on the first day of school and my new students read and keep them.
On the first day, we always read “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” The kids always get such a kick out of writing their own stories about summer, and I love seeing which kiddos are serious and which ones have wild imaginations!
I really enjoy reading your emails!
Every year on the first day of school, we draw first day of school selfies. Then on the last day (or close to that) we draw a new one and then compare. My kids love it.
This is only my 3rd year that I’ll be starting, but something I enjoy doing is playing a get to know you game of some sort. I teach first grade, so it’s something the kiddos love and it helps break the ice for the students that don’t already know one another.
A fun game that I have used at various elementary grades and now in middle school is “Just Like Me”. Students sit with their chairs arranged in a large circle/oval (the whole class makes one oval). One person starts by telling something they did over summer. For instance, the first person might stand up and say, “I went on an airplane!” if anyone else in the oval traveled on an airplane over summer, those students (and teacher, if true for the teacher too) stand up and say, “JUST LIKE ME!” (They are to practice being enthusiastic about it.) Then, the person to the left continues with something different. The game continues until every person in the circle has had a chance to start. This game can be played after summer, after a weekend, as an “about me” type of game (“I play the piano.”), and so on. It’s a great way for players to find commonalities with classmates! 🙂
I love this
Understood I do to! She helped me on the first day of 2ed grade! Jean your comment is 100% correct!
It’s all about setting tone on the first day, so I love to play goofy “get-to-know-you” games! I switch them up every year, but I like to lighten things up and let the kids get to know me a little bit too!
I always play a Name game to break the ice. I also always talk about the word EXPECTATIONS!
I always read “First Day Jitters” and we make and drink “Jitter Juice” to wash those nerves. I also take a picture of each student holding a cute first day sign and send it to their parent to help those grown-up jitters. 🙂
Lori I love this as a first year teacher I would love to copy your idea and make it my new annual tradition please!! I would also love to win the gift card.
Great idea. How do you get the picture to the patent?
We always do First Day Selfies! I use these photos to put up in the room with their “Hopes and Dreams” for the year.
I always greet students at the door!
I am a new(ish) teacher who is excited to start he school year with a gallery walk to get my students up and to know me, and then have them create their own artifact bag so they can teach the class about themselves later in the week! 🙂
One thing I always do on the first day of school is have a 2-3 minute conversation with each and every student at some point during the day. It’s a short amount of time, but I learn a lot from them and they can begin to see how much I care about each one of them.
I take a picture of my students holding a sign that says “First Day of –Grade”. In June I repeat with a sign that says “Ready for — Grade” I use these pages as a beginning and and to their writing portfolio.
We always have a snowball fight! The students write 3 things about themselves on a piece of paper and crumple it up. The students get to toss around the papers for a minute or two. When the time is uo, they all pick one, read the clues out loud ang guess who it was! We of course go over what is acceptable before tossing the snowballs!
I always have my students tell me what they hope to learn in science for the year and to list their ideas for science projects.
I always have my students do a peek a boo prtrait of themselves and list their three goals for the school year!
We always take first day of school pictures! My kiddos love to compare these to the Last day of school pictures at the end of the year! They grow so much, in so many ways!
Every year on the first day of school I take a picture of each student. We use them throughout the year for various projects.
I always have everyone introduce themselves.
I love the first day of school; maybe it’s the smell of new books or the idea that this year I will teach my nephew the richness of reading those new books. We take our first day slow and go over our class rules and my expectations for the year. This year my daughter will be in first grade and this is a huge year for her as she has been watching for four years and not truly participating. Very excited about this year.
I always read “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg so students realize that new beginnings cause many people, even teachers, to feel nervous. Students love the illustrations and humor. This is often accompanied by a discussion and an art/writing activity. We revisit this story, as it’s in the “Treasures” third grade book, and use it to analyze many literary elements.
A Bingo sheet with different items on it, “has blue eyes,” “has been to Galveston beach,”, etc. This way the kids know what they have in common and it is a great ice-breaker.
On The first day of school, I always have the students decorate a gingerbread cut out and decorate it to look like themselves and after the students go home, I laminate the gingerbread cut-outs. Then I cut them out and attach the cut-outs to the student’s lockers.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is read “First Day Jitters.” My students and I always have a great conversation after about how even teachers can be nervous for the first day.
This year will be my second year teaching, and I am going to start my first day with an all about me page! I’m super excited to use this as a way to get to know my students! I’m also going to read “The Night Before 1st Grade.” I’m hoping to get my kiddos excited for the coming year!
On the first day, we complete how we go home graphs. We also draw a self portrait and work together creating our class mission, rules, and jobs.
First day jitters… more for me! Lol. Time capsules. And procedures.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL I TAKE PICTURES OF ALL MY STUDENTS. WE GATHER IN A CIRCLE AND PLAY NAME GAMES AND DO A SCAVENGER HUNT. ONCE WE HAVE WARMED UP TO EACH OTHER WE DISCUSS AND SET WHOLE CLASS AND INDIVIDUAL GOALS FOR THE YEAR!
I have always read Salt In His Shoes. This year I’m teaching growth mindset, but that book still works!
One of the things I always do on the first day is a Teacher Quiz. It’s going to be particularly interesting this year because I will have been with my students for three years. Curious to see what they know or think they know:)
I always like to do some kind of STEM team-building exercise. It gives the kids a chance to work together and get comfortable, and it gives me the potential to get to know what kind of learners I have right off the bat! I can see who has strong leadership skills, who is struggling to have their voice heard, who has outside of the box thinking capabilities, who is a more concrete and hands-on learner, etc. It’s such an informal quick glance at who my students are!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is have a longer morning meeting. I first explain to my students what morning meeting is, what it will consist of everyday and my expectations for a smooth meeting. Students then start with a simple name greeting and a dolphin wave (our school’s mascot is a dolphin), so that everyone gets a chance to learn each others names. I have a simple back-to-school share posted on my morning message and each student goes around the circle and shares one highlight from their summer. This gives everyone a chance to start learning about one another and helps to start building a positive classroom community. I select someone to read to the morning message, and then we have an activity. Since it’s the first day of school, I start with a dance party to help take some of their nerves away… the kids love it!!! I then let them do a second activity (You want them to have the best first day ever!) and I have a Find-Someone-Who activity that they complete. It gets students up and moving, as well as talking to one another from the very beginning. I then have students share what they learned about their classmates. This helps establish a strong community right from the start and helps students begin to feel comfortable… their smiles last the whole day! The first day of school is without a doubt one of my favorite days of the year 🙂
I’m changing grade levels this year, so I’m looking for some changes for the beginning of this year. But something I always do (that I will still make a point to do this year) is make sure I have a short conversation with each student. It’s so important to develop those relationships!
I’ve only completed one full year of teaching, but for the last two years, I’ve started the school year our by sitting on the floor with my students to reassure them that I care about them, will respect them, and will always try my best to foster their learning in fresh ways.
I always read a funny or silly book.
One thing I always do the first day of school is read, First Day Jitters and the scholars write their own feelings about the first day of school. We use this as their first writing of the school then document growth throughout the year.
Getting to know the students and friend banners so they can get to know each other! ❤️
One thing I always do in the first day of school is a get to know me Q and A. The kids always have some many questions about who I am. I want them to know I am an open book and they can trust me. I feel like answering their questions makes me more than just the teacher but an actual person they can relate to.
I always have large paper grocery bags lining the back wall for each student to dump their supplies into and a mini essential set of supplies at their desk to immediately get started with.
I have the students write a letter to themselves that I will return to them the last week of school.
On the first day of school, I always go over my classroom expectations, as well as our school wide expectations since we are a PBS school. We spend a lot of time modeling these expectations in different locations of our school. Then I always read First Day Jitters to them. We predict the book and then we compare/contrast ourselves to Sarah in the story.
I am going to do a get to know you game. The students will write at least 3 things about their shoulder partner and present it to the class. Students usually have fun introducing their classmates.
I always read a “first day” book (depending on what I get from the library) and let the students explore the class for a bit and give them an opportunity to look through the books!
I always give the kids a pop quiz….about me! It’s a fun way for them to see what they already know about me and to learn new things about their teacher. I then let them ask (nearly) anything they want about me. It’s fun to see what kind of questions they come up with!
The first day of school, we always play getting to know you games and share our highlights of our summer adventures.
My school is very small (10 kids per grade!) And I’m a well known teacher… So my first day tradition is a chemistry experiment and discovering together what makes for good classroom “chemistry”
Love your resources!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is make an anchor chart for “What kind of teacher do you want me to be?” The students tell me all the different thing and I tell them these are my essential agreements. Then we make the class essential agreements and the students sign the anchor chart like I sign mine. That way we all have our agreements to follow for the year. We revisit these in January and call them our New Year’s Resolutions.
I always read “The Night Before First Grade” and the class writes and illustrates how they feel on the first day of school.
The first thing I always do on the first day of school is to have a welcome back party. The kids shocked. I start out by asking them why we only have a party at the end of the year. Why don’t we have a party because we are so excited about being back at school and looking forward to all the exciting and challenging activities they will experience. I usually serve a variety of donut holes, orange or apple juice and bananas and grapes. Then we sit together and share summer stories and talk about expectations for the year. They love to talk! It really sets the tone for the entire year.
As a school we always do common areas expectations. My para brings the kids to the different locations and teach staff member is assigned an area to teach. I always get stuck with the computer lab.
I always sing a song with the kids’ name.
I always have the kids draw a self -portrait! They do one mid year and end of year too. Love to see how they “change”!
I always take a First day of First Grade picture with a frame I made. At the end f the year, it shows how much each kiddo has grown!
Every year on the first day of school I have my students write a letter to themselves. I call this, Dear Younger Me. The students write about their personal and academic goals, fears, dreams, hopes for their 8th grade year and beyond, and one thing they want to learn during the course of the year. At the end of the year, I let them read their letter to see how they have changed. I also encourage them to write a new letter as freshman so they will have some time to reflect as a senior.
I always do some sort of personality test with my kids! They love it and I learn a lot about them fast!
Community building activities!
I’m moving from 1st to 5th grade this year, so I’m sure my first day of school will look different, but I want to make it fun and silly so we may do some selfie photos that we will then put with a “Facebook” page poster we will hang on the wall.
i always try to learn at least a quarter of my students’ names on the first day. i know i won’t get all of them, but it at least shows them that i’m committed to learning their names and that it’s important to me to do so.
I always read a picture book 🙂
One thing I always do on the first day of school is read the book First Day Jitters and then make Jitter Juice!
The first day of school I read “First Day Jitters”. Then we discuss the book, write down all our fears then ball the paper up and throw our fears away.
I always leave out something easy, fun and interesting for the kids to do at an assigned seat. Then I call them to morning meeting to begin our everyday routine starting with a fun introductions game and get to know you games.
I always give a tour of the school, originating from our classroom so the students know how to get places from our room!
One thing we always do is brainstorm a T-chart of what their job is and what my job is. We refer back to this quite often, especially when they have stated my job is to teach and their job is to learn. Thank you.
I always do the poster activity where you ask students questions like, “What do you hope to learn in 5th grade?” and “What does your teacher need to do to help you be successful?” and they write their answers on post-its they place on the posters. I keep them up all year, and use the poster with the question, “What should kids in our class be doing to make sure class runs as smoothly as possible?” to make a class rules chart that everyone signs as a contract.
On the first day, I teach my students about the Warm Fuzzies (our whole-class incentive to encourage kindness and positive role models), and we practice being kind to each other. It’s so sweet to see my new friends helping each other and playing collaboratively.
This year, I’m moving to a new school, so I’m doing a read-aloud of a book about how to prepare your teacher for the first day of school. They’ll have to “teach” me the procedures and whereabouts in the classroom, making sure that I know where the bathrooms are, and how to line up for lunch, etc. I think I’ll use it even when I’ve been at the school for a few years! Getting my students to take responsibility and ownership of our routines, procedures, and rules. I’m excited!
First Day of school is the best. We read “First Day Jitters”. We have the kids introduce themselves. We play fun games to let everyone loosen up. We introduce some rules of the class. But most important we have fun on the first day.
As a first year teacher, I think I would do a get to know you bingo where students find people who have done something in the bingot card and have them sign it.
I always make sure my students get to know each other and know that they are welcome and accepted on the first day!
We always go over the bathroom procedures ~ we don’t ever want an accident!
We spend the first day putting supplies away and doing a play doh activity. I also use this day to act out and teach the basics of my classroom procedures and an introduction to whole brain teaching.
I discovered a time capsule activity about 4 years ago. It is a great project and the kids open them at the end of the year and compare first week items. Love this activity. We look at what time capsules are on the very first day.
I always take a 1st day of school picture and measure their height as part of a time capsule sheet, I then do the same thing during the last week of school, so they have a comparison.
I have to do the school and class rules, but after that we all introduce ourselves and do fun introduction-presentation activity (writing, drawing, and presenting).
I always read the First Day Jitters book and serve jitter juice!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is discuss procedures and discuss what students need to be successful at school.
I always do “magic play dough” on the first day of school. Students come in and find a seat and start squishing their play dough. It gives me time with parents or students who are maybe having a hard time or need to talk. As students squish their play dough it starts changing colors and they get excited! I tell them it’s magic play dough and because it turned colors it means we are going to have a magical year!
Where do you get this “magic play dough”? I’d love to try this!
I make a simple play dough recipe and then roll enough balls for each student to have one. I poke a hole in the middle of the ball and carefully put a few drops of food coloring in and then close up the hole by moving the play dough around on top. I try really hard to make sure that no color shows. When the kids start playing with and squishing it, the color moves around and starts making the plain play dough colorful, hence “magic play dough”. Here is a link to a fun poem I include on the little baggie the kids take home the first day. http://susanjonesteaching.com/a-cupcake-for-me/ Enjoy! 🙂
Jitter juice poem and drink
One thing I always do on the first day is teach a mini lesson. I don’t spend the whole period reading the rules but I integrate a little content so the students come away hopefully having learned one new thing related to my subject matter–biology!
This will be my first year, but I plan to read “First Day Jitters” and start the day with morning meeting 🙂
On the first day of school, I play a get to know you game and then go over expectations.
I always do a get to know you activity
Every year we get to introduce ourselves and get to know each other. We also them make an “About Me” book, and go through the rules and procedures.
I always read lots of stories, go over routines, and have lots of fun!
This will be my second year but I am planning to do a beach ball ice breaker. You use an inflatable beach ball with questions written on it with a sharpie. The kids seem to like this fun activity!
Love your blog and TPT products!
This’ll be my 2nd year teaching. I am a special education teacher. I love just giving my students time to explore our classroom on our first day of school. I like to walk around and talk to each one of them and see how they are doing.
We read first day jitters, and tell them about my first day jitters. Followed by playing The Name Game, most of the students already know each other as they came from pre-k together. The students are always surprised that I, the teacher, can have first day jitters as well.
I always read lots of fun books, and go over routines and take their picture.
I always give out tons of hugs and lots of high fives!
One thing I love to do on the first day of school is to bring a bag of items that describe me to my students. I pull things out one at a time and tell them why I put it in there. (Ex: A photo of my family, my gardening gloves, knitting needles, etc.)
We do routines, lockers, and get to know you games. Im working on a nice math song to the tune of a popular song to break the ice!
A few things I always do for BTS are first day selfies , some team building activities, what I want my teacher to know and of course READ!
On the first day of school I like to read First Day Jitters and color an I survived my first day of first grade hat!
I always use my Polaroid camera to take pictures of my students on the first day. At the end of the year, we take another picture to see how much they’ve grown.
I get to my classroom really early and pray over each seat and the little heart that will occupy said seat. I want to start the school year with a blessed classroom and blessed students!
I love to make jitter juice and have them guess what magic secret ingredients I’ve used to make it.
I always take first day of school pictures. Near the last day of school we take an end of the year picture for comparison.
I always do an all about me activity, normally it’s math about me human, but this year I found a science about me on TPT that I can’t wait to try.
One thing I always do on the first day is model the brown bag activity where I share 3 important pieces of me that fit into a bag. Students brainstorm and then take their bags home and come back and begin sharing. Great activity between periods or when students need a break.
On the first day I like to do people Bingo. Each square has a description and students need to find someone who fits that description. It’s great for movement and it helps students get to know all of their classmates!
On the first day of school I like to take the kiddos on a tour of the school. I teach first grade and as kinders they “lived” on the other side of the campus. So even though many are not new to the school, they are new to our side and may not know where everything is in relation to their new classroom.
One thing I do on the first day of school is introducing myself to students by sharing pictures of myself from when I was their age! Then I let them ask any questions they want. My favorite from last year was “Have you ever transformed into a cat?”
At the beginning of every school year I gather my 2nd grade friends at the group carpet. I begin the discussion by letting them know that I am always nervous meeting my kiddos the first day of school. I let them know I didn’t sleep well the night before, my stomach may have been nervous, and I was anxious to begin. I also let them know that after meeting them I felt much better knowing that my learning family included each one of them.
On the first day of school I read “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg and serve “jitter juice” to the students. After school I go for ice cream with my teacher friend to celebrate the first day.
One thing I always do is take my mom with me–She is a retired teacher so she is wonderful help to me… but she is also a mom, and a grandma so she is great at giving hugs to anyone who might be nervous!!! I LOVE MY MOM!
On the first day of school, I always introduce myself with a quick slide show (Google Slides). Then I have students work on their own slide shows…the nice thing about using Slides is that students can use images from the web if they don’t have digital photos at home, or don’t have access to the internet outside of school. We share these in a gallery walk near the end of the 1st week or beginning of the 2nd week (depending on lab time).
I always read Name Jar on the first day of school. We discuss the theme and create a line plot using the number of letters in our last names.
I teach preschool and kindergarten so it always their first time in a school. We take a tour of the school and explain what we will do in all the spaces.
On the first day of school, I always have the students make tent name tags. The students have to draw four pictures that are symbolic of who they are in each corner and their name in the middle. Not only does it help me remember the students’ names, I learn who the perfectionists are, who is in sports, etc.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is the “birthday twin ” line up. Without talking I have students line up according to birthdays. I begin by saying december is at the back of the classroom and January begins at the front. My birthday is July 17 so I stand about in the middle. This is a great ice breaker and also gives me a chance to give summer birthday bags…and find out if we have any birthday twins. A fun beginning of the year activity.
I read First Day Jitter and go over classroom procedures.
1 thing I always do on the first day is read, First Day Jitters. We open it up for a morning discussion and way to get to know each other a little better.
I always try to make time to meet every student and try to learn their name when they arrive. I want them to know that I care about them and I want to be the one to invite them into their new home for the year!
We always make name cards for their desks and lockers.
On the first day of school we always write our name and draw a picture of ourselves. 🙂
On the first day of school we always read The Kissing Hand book and talk about first day feelings. We trace the student’s hands and cut them them out, then attach the poem, and send them home with a small bag is Hershey’s Kisses.
I always have them pick a book to read on the very first day of school. In fact, I’ve tried to have them pick a book at Open House so they dive right into that book first thing when they come in on that very first day. I love looking around the room and seeing them all reading! 🙂
I always have a fun activity to ease the first day jitters. We also go on a tour of the school and talk about how we should behave in each area so new to the school students know where everything is.
I always begin our first novel read-aloud. It’s stress free for the kiddos and it instantly makes us all connected through this shared experience.
I always start out with a fun read-aloud. Even older kids enjoy being read to. I also always have them draw a picture of themselves.
I always play “find someone who” games to get the students making new connections and learning about each other. First day jitters is always a must as well–can’t forget that jitter juice ;p
I always do self-portraits! I hang these on a bulletin board with their goals for 4th grade! Eventually, these drawings go in their portfolios.
On the first day of school I always take a picture of each child with a 1st day sign, we put this on the first page of their memory book and they write the sentence “On the first day of school I felt…”. We do the same on the last day of school, with a picture and sentence. The kids and I love to look at how their hand writing has improved and they’re faces have changed!
On the first day, (and the day after that, and the next day . . . ) I go over procedures, procedures, procedures, especially for unpacking, recess, lunch, and packing up. I also always have the kids engage in community building activities and read aloud to the class.
When I begin my first year of teaching, I plan on creating an all about me bag and then having the students create one to share with the group during our morning meetings. When ever I can, I like to have my students sharing their interests with the class and this activity allows students to talk about themselves through showing artifacts such as pictures, rewards/medals, toys, books, movies, etc.
On the first day of school, I always have my students make a decorative name plate to sit on their desks. Also, a lot of modeling expectations for various procedures.
I love reading a picture book to my new class on the first day.
eat chocolate and go to sonic
This is my first year teaching 5th grade. I’m going to let my students decorate bookmarks and laminate them. I hope it will be. Motivator to read and perhaps something they can keep for years to come!
I always do a classroom tour and a get to know your teacher activity
I always Read You’re Finally Here! They love this book and gets everyone laughing!
I always do an ice breaker game – usually a beach ball with questions they voice their opinions on!
One thing I do is play a name game so I can practice learning all of my students names.
This will actually be my first year starting at the beginning of the school year and I am so excited! The one tradition I want to start with my kids is a kindness quilt. The children color their portion of the quilt with a kind message then we put all our pieces together to make one beautiful quilt with kind words for the year. This can double as a bulletin board for parents on curriculum night
On the first day of school I always do a lot of breaks for games, community building, and materials introduction. My favorite activity is making jitter juice and taking the kids on a gingerbread hunt around the school.
One thing I always do is to have my students draw a picture of themselves and write the alphabet. I then do the same thing on the last day of school and we compare how much their drawing and writing has changed 🙂
My first read aloud is always The Little Red Hen. Then I establish my rule: if you don’t work, you don’t eat. We discuss it in adult terms and kid terms. This year I will have four “younger siblings” of former students who can assure the class I mean what I say. Mean? No, but I am firm.
I greet each child individually with a smile and slap a name tag on their shirt.
On the first day of school, I always have students work together to help create our class rules.
I teach 4th grade math and always do a Math About Me on the first day of school. We get to know each other and start the year with math at the same time.
I always make sure that my students feel welcome in the classroom by greeting them at the door and then by doing a morning meeting where everyone gets a chance to tell a little about themselves!
I always read First Day Jitters.
We take “First Day of School” pictures with the mini Polaroid and draw self portraits.
I always have them write a letter to themselves that I hand back during the last week of school. I have them think of goals that they have for the year, something that they want to accomplish, etc. They have a blast reading those letters. Some years I”ll have them trace their hand, we’ll measure them and even take pics.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is begin procedures. No sense in putting it off. Structure and routine need to be established right away, and in between practice we build community and have fun!
This is my first year that I know EXACTLY who and what I am teaching! (Super excited!) I am the goofy teacher at our school, so I like to start out the first day making the kiddos laugh! This year I will be putting up a funny PowerPoint about myself, the class, and what they should expect (using funny 90’s themes and jokes!)
I am entering my fifth year and I ALWAYS go over procedures on the first day of school!!
On the first day of school, I read First Day Jitters, and we drink Jitter Juice. We also go over rules and procedures.
I always go over the rules and class procedures. I also try to do magic play-doh because the kids absolutely love it!
I have 3 Back-to-School/Summer’s over songs that I teach them and I always have a silly read aloud on the first day of school.
I always talk about goals with my students, and then take pictures with them holding a sign that says it is the 1st day of 2nd grade, and what they want to be when they grow up. We see how it changes throughout the year!
Another thing I do is read the book “The Name Jar” and then send home an activity for them to do with their families so they can find out how they got their name. It turns into our first writing assignment of the year, and is always exciting to learn about each of my students. They also really love this and remember it, and refer back to it many times throughout the year!
On the first day of school I always have students share what they feel will make our year the most successful, what they’ll need from me as their teacher, what they’ll need to contribute as a student, and what they’ll need from their classmates. This is a very good segway into expectations, and we start building a sense of community right away.
I always take a tour of the school on the first day!! It’s so cute when the kids walk through the cafeteria with their pretend lunch trays and lunch boxes! 🙂
I share the book “First Day Jitters” and serve the class jitter juice
I always like to talk about expectations and I plan to read first day jitters and schools first day of school. Always like to show they aren’t the only ones who get nervous.
I always read The Kissing Hand and practice routines with my new kinders!
As a reading specialist my first day is spent helping parents and students get to the right classrooms, helping classroom teachers and meetings to prepare for the beginning of the year assessments. On my first day with students I go over procedures and get to know them as readers.
I always read First Day Jitters and the kids draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school. I have them try and write about how they felt on their way to school that day.
One first thing I always do is tell my students how important and special they are and let them know tgat I chose them to be in my classroom. This helps establish a “family” environment for all of them.
On the first day of school I like to do a “Getting to Know Me” and a “Getting to Know my Classroom” scoot around the room. My students really seem to enjoy these scoots and the interaction that it creates. Oh, and the “Grand” conversations afterwards is priceless.
I always read “You’re Finally Here!” and have students share something they did during the summer while I was waiting for them. I also make time for students to draw a picture of themselves on the first day.
On the first day of school, I always have the K4 parents and kids help me fill out the “who’s going where?” sheet. It lets me know who are the pick up people and if they are bus, pick up or after school care. Then we take a picture of the child and pick up person together for a card for the sub, if the child is a busser we hold up my bus sign with number and take a picture and if they are after school care we have a panther(our mascot) and a picture. All the cards get laminated and put in a binder ring to hang by the door. It helps me the first few weeks and any subs in my class with pick up. If a child is more than one thing on different days I label the back of the card with the days of the week. Then I can use a dry erase marker to mark the cards for those “parent note” days of changes.
I have always wanted to play a super fun game that the students would talk about at home and help them look forward to being in class.
One thing we always do on the first day of school is learn our rules, routines, and expectations. We have lessons in them, role play, and even play a Kahoot to make sure we have them completely ingrained in us. Makes the rest of the year sooooo much better!
I try to have a one on one discussion with each student. I get on their level, look them in the eye, and try very hard to make a real connection with what they are saying. I want them to go home the first day knowing that I will listen and really do care about them!
On the first day of school, we always have a huge school wide first day event, where the teachers plan different activities for students to participate in, such as a hike or bike ride, rock climbing and zumba. We have a great day and the principal helps cook a BBQ for everyone to enjoy!
On the first day of school my 4th graders will draw a picture of a person or animal and we will talk about “what a friend is”. I will show them my what a friend is” poster and they will then label their drawing either copying mine or putting it in their own words.
I always do a Pete the Cat school tour. It is a great way to show the students around our school and they LOVE finding notes from Pete. At the end Pete leaves us a special treat in our room.
I always tell them how excited I am to be their teacher, and have them complete an “All About Me” page to help me get to know them. It also gives a quick assessment of their writing ability.
One thing I always do on there first day is read “First Day Jitters” and talk about how we are feeling about being at school, figuring out what they would like to learn this year and just do an overall temperature check.
I always have my students take a quiz about me to introduce myself. I am a math teacher so all the answers are numbers. After each slide I give them the correct answer and give them details about the question. An example is How many states have I lived in? The answer is 8 states and then I tell about each state I lived in and when. The students enjoy the quiz and we all have some fun with it. I also have an entrance ticket where they have to write down one thing they know about me (before we take the quiz) and then an exit ticket that allows them to ask me something they still want to know about me. Finally, their homework for the first week is to fill in a Who I Am sheet so I can get to know them.
I always take their picture and hang them on my door in little IPhones with the #firstsay!
I always do an All About Me activity with the kids.
I begin the school year by introducing myself to the students. Then, each student shares information about themselves. We spend the rest of the day practicing procedures, including how to wash their hands.
I’ve always left a letter I have written to them and at the end I ask them to write me back and answer specific questions.
On the first day of school I always have my first graders draw self portraits. They can use google eyes for their eyes. They love that! I display them in the hall with a poster in the shape of a crayon box that says, “Introducing Mrs. Pierce’s Pack!”.
On the first day of school I share my owl Oliver with my class and we talk about wise and unwise choices.
I always tell them how happy I am that I get to be their teacher!
We love taking our back to school pictures then circle up for introductions & procedures.
I always have my students make a kindergarten crown!
I always play some team building games with my students. It helps the kids to learn each other’s names, form bonds and it creates a conversation starter for the playground.
Every year I take first day of school picture of the class & then put it in a frame that sits on a shelf next to a picture of my family.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is create classroom expectations with my students.
On the first day of school, I have my students fill out a learning styles inventory to find out what their learning style is. Then, I have them create a name tent on card stock (folded horizontally). On one side they write their name in the middle, on the top left they write their learning style, on the top right a career the student would like to have, on the bottom left, three words that describe the student, and on the bottom right an interesting fact about themselves. On the back of the nameplate, the students divide it into four sections where they write goals every nine weeks. This name tent is kept in their binder and is used all year. These name tents can also be used when there is a sub instead of nametags.
Tbis is my second year teaching. The one thing I did last year was say hello to every student at the door. I started it last year on the first day and continued it every day. I plan on doing it again this year! The students loved that little bit of positivity and it always started the day off right!!
One of the books I always read on the first day is Jack’s Talent by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. I take the kids’ pictures holding a frame that says “Official First Grader” in big glitter letters. Near the end of the day, they draw a picture on a “first day” page. Some write a little, some dictate to me. I give these papers back on the last day of school. They are always amazed at how much more they can do!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is send home a note to parents asking for their input about their child. I leave it open ended saying something like ” please tell me anything you would like me to know about… most parents give me good incite to kids background etc.
I always wake up really, really early. I always greet each child as they enter the classroom and let them know that I’m excited to be their teacher.
Read a book and smile!
I always read Bucket Filler books and talk about ways we can fill each others’ buckets. As a contrast I read Yertle the Turtle and we discuss how he is a bucket dumper. I also play Bingo with student names to help us get familiar seeing names in print.
Today..he first day of school…we read First day Jitters. I love read alouds! Wendy 1stgradefireworks
One thing I always do is have my students fill out a list of their favorite things, then sharing what they wrote. They are surprised by how much they have in common and I get to learn a lot about them as well!
One thing that I always do is go over my classroom expectations so that the students know how I will hold them accountable, but also so students and parents know how they can expect to hold me accountable as well.
This is my first year teaching. One thing I want to make a yearly tradition is having the students create an “all about me” page to hangup on our hallway display.
I am a Spanish teacher.I always start the first day playing Spanish music (usually ABBA’s Dancing Queen in Spanish) as the students come in along with a power point seating chart with their names and assigned numbered seats moving around on the smart board. It periodically stops , they listen to the music and it starts up again. It starts the class with a smile from everyone. They can hear the music down the hall so it makes them excited to come in and see what is going on. I then give a smart board presentation with some Spanish memes as to what we will be doing throughout the year. We have shortened periods the first day, so the teaching period goes very fast.
One thing I started last year that I plan to do again this year is an interactive science all about me with questions on a beach ball.
Every year on the first day of school I play get to know you games and the name game.
One thing I plan to do on the first day is have the students tell of what they think the school year is going to be. Then at the end of the year have them recap how the year was and compare to what they said on the first day.
On the first day of school I always play a game right away. I just call it “The Name Game”. The first student says his/her name and says something he likes to do while acting it out. For example, a student would say, “My name is Shannon and I like to lay basketball.” The student would act out shooting a basketball hoop and the rest of the class would follow. Then, the next student says the previous students name, what that student likes to do (while acting it out) and follow the same routine for herself. This continues until the last person in the circle says everyone’s names and what they like to do. I usually follow up with a quick writing activity about themselves.
I always take a first day photo. This is used as the background on each students’ iPad, their lunch choice magnet, etc. I love taking one at the end of the year so they can compare and see how much they’ve grown.
Supplies, procedures, and letting each student personally know that I am excited they are in my class. No matter the grade (preK- 8th), the school, or the situation these are the three things I do every year without fail.
I always read the book “Miss Maple’s Seeds.” Actually, I do this every first AND last day of school! It’s a beautiful book, and students have very different reactions (all wonderful) on the two days I read it.
I have the students fill out a questionnaire sheet Bout themselves that they later share with the class and a “how well do you know your teacher” sheet and tally up how many questions they get right. It’s so much fun.
I always take a closeup of my firsties, then have them decorate a gingerbread cutout with their clothes for that day. I then place the closeup picture on their gingerbread boy/girl. I use these characters to keep track of AR points, math facts, or high frequency words. In that past, I would repurpose these characters as a cover for an All About Me book for the end of the year.
We always partner with someone else to create a Venn Diagram to learn what we have in common with someone else in the room. It is a good way for new students to make a friend.
I always have the kids make their own name tags complete with pictures that represent themselves.
We always read First Day Jitters and drink “jitter juice”. We also do a short writing about being nervous on the first day of school. My students always love this story!
First day of school, I would have a questionnaire
I always have my students work on an “All about me page”. Then they will share with the class to get to know each other.
I take pictures of my students to give to parents at conference time. They have such eager looks on their faces.
On the first day, I put out play doh and take photos of the kids interacting. I always read Mr. Peabody’s Apples too.
One thing that I always do is a getting to know you activity that gets the kids up moving and interacting with their friends.
One thing I do on the first day of school is make sure the kids go home with a little something. A principal many years ago told us newbies that this always make a child happy! 🙂 It could be a pencil or a treat or just a little note.
I always take a first day of school picture! I also start building a strong classroom community.
For the past two of my three years of teaching, I have had my students write what they need from me to be successful, what they need from themselves to be successful, and what they need from their classmates. It’s been a great way to get the students thinking about the school year, setting goals, and starting off on the right foot. So far the students have always written down things that encompass my classroom rules so its a GREAT way to have them feel invested in our classroom rules.
I read Chrysanthemum to the class and do an exercise where we crumple a huge paper heart every time we hear something hurtful. Then we try to smooth out the wrinkles and make it new again, like the hurtful things were never said. Of course that doesn’t work. It is a great introduction to using kind words, and demonstrating that emotional hurts aren’t so easily healed. Some kids just need to hear that over, and over, and over…
I always read about Chester in “The Kissing Hand” with my forties & do an art project tracing their hand, cutting it, & gluing a heart inside while folding the fingers down. I teach them the “I love you” sign in sign language & give them a note with a chocolate kiss at the end of the day.
One of the things I plan on doing every year on the first day of school is having students write about what they DIDN’T do over summer. Kids have all kinds of crazy answers!
I’ve been doing this for three years now, and it has been great. First greet the kids with a huge smile as they enter the classroom, right after practicing a little procedures we read Wemberly Worried and Chrisantemum, we do a little crafting and then we GoNoodle. It´s so much fun.
One thing I like to do at the beginning of the year is to find out about the students. We sit in a circle and I start (by holding a ball of yarn) by telling them something that they may not know about me. I roll it to a student across from me. When they are done, they hang on to the string and roll it to someone else. This goes on until all have a chance to share something. Then we reverse it and they roll it to the person who rolled to them. This is a great way to get them talking about themselves while they can focus on holding their yarn and who will get it next.
I always do an activity called “Find a Friend.” They move around the room talking to their peers finding people that match each description. I love that it gets them talking to each other as well as me! So important to build those connections from the beginning!
I like to give each student a piece of a puzzle made out of poster board. Each student decorates their piece with their favorite things. We use the puzzle pieces to introduce ourselves to each other at morning meeting and then put the puzzle together as a class. I glue the puzzle together on bulletin board paper and add, “A Perfect Fit… For a Perfect Year!” This hangs in our room all year long.
I always do something called marshmallow toes. My sister told me about it right before my first year as a second grade teacher. It has worked beautifully every year. I give each child a big marshmallow. We describe the way it looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds. I tell them that we will always walk down the hallways “like marshmallows.” We practice by popping the whole thing in our mouths and taking a walk around the school! It’s a SWEET way to start the first day of school. 🙂
I always let the kids our their new supplies. I try to make sure we color, cut, and glue on that first day.
On the first day of school, I have each student write a letter to themselves, setting goals for the year, and telling about their favorite things and current events. They can share if they want but the fun is that we put the letters in a shoebox or poster tube and create a time capsule! On one of the last days of school, we give the letters out and share again!! They get to see if they met their goals, how they have changed and how much they have learned in their writing skills.
I love to read “First Day Jitters” on the first day, take the students’ pictures, and play get to know you scavenger hunt games.
I always read First Day Jitters!
I will welcome everyone with a high five! I read the thingamajig book of manners and play a fun activity related to how to use our manners in the classroom. This then leads into the school expectations. I also send the family a note with a questionnaire about their child and family. This allows me to get to know them quicker.
I take a photo of each student holding a first day of kindergarten sign. We take a tour of the building and they are so excited when we get to the playground
One thing I do on the first day of school is take pictures of the students. I take several of them and use these for their 2nd grade scrapbook, class story book, and for the “I AM…” pictures that hang on my wall all year. The student chooses a positive I AM statement and we cut out letters and glue them onto the picture. For instance: I am creative or I am a leader. The kids love to see their pictures on the wall.
I always buy an extra large coffee!!!
I’m a second year teacher and so far each year we have had a class “motto”. It’s either a short song or chant that reminds them the expectations of the classroom but is fun and encouraging. We add movements to it and it becomes something that gets us focused and ready for the day every morning!
I let the kiddos pick where they sit on the first day. It gives me a chance to learn who knows who and to get a sense of their precious lil’ personalities. I also have the students share what they’re looking forward to learning and doing this year.
I love doing some sort of Back to School Task cards to get the kids talking and getting to know each other.
I always take pictures of students with their parents so I can remember who belongs with who.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is to take a photo (head shot) of each student. I then make about 15 copies of each one and use these for file folder games, getting to know you activities, future artwork, and a whole lot of writing activities. I usually take one at the end of the year, too, so they can each see how much they’ve changed! Lots of fun!
I always do a Getting to Know Your Teacher Quiz. I create a PowerPoint Quiz about me. The kids guess what the answer for each question will be. Then I go over each answer so the kids can get to know me better.
One thing I always do on the first day of school is read my favorite children’s book, Arnie the Doughnut.
I have my kids do team building and get to know gig activities. Such as saving Sam, friend bingo, or the m&m game where everyone gets some m&m and each color represents something they have to state about themselves.
I love good team building activities, as well as a first day read aloud. Thanks for the great resources!
I always start with getting to know you activities and then some stem challenges.
I always take a close up and a regular picture of the students. I use these for books, name games, crafts, center board etc.
I give students an index card and have them write “2 Truths and a Lie” about themselves. Throughout the first few days I read the cards and we try to guess who the card belongs to and which one is the lie. The kids love it and so do I!
I always read “First Day Jitters.” The kid love discovering that the teacher, not a little girl, was the one with jitters. I also give the kids a chance to wander the room for about 3 minutes, return to their seats or the rug, and let them ask me questions about what they’ve seen/discovered. I then answer their questions.
I write questions all over a beach ball using a sharpie. We stand in a circle and toss the ball to whomever they choose, so long as they pick someone who did not have a turn yet. Whichever question their left thumb lands on is the one they share. Most are general getting to know you questions, but I throw in some silly ones too! They can bring it out at indoor/outdoor recess or during breaks throughout the year. I always look for opportunities to take a lesson outside, and this is definitely a good activity for that! I’m a special education teacher and have always done this in a small group-smaller class size up to 12. Hopefully this would still be useful with a normal class size, but I’m not sure how long it would take. ***Check your class’s reading level and/or review the questions with the class before playing for struggling readers, and only write with words you’re confident they’ll know so they feel safe and successful from the first day!
I always have my students write a letter to themselves about what happened over the course of the year. Then, I give it back to them at the end of the year.
On the first day of school I always complete an “All About Me” activity. This gives me a chance to learn about my students and my students are able to learn about each other.
I always start the year with a read aloud. I want to develop a trusting relationship with my students with a good read. Thanks.
We go to the park on the first day of school.
Something I like to begin the year with is an all about me page with the students. It’s good info for me as a way to get to know their interests, and it also gives me a quick assessment for spelling and handwriting. Tghe students love to look at them at the end of the year!
One thing I always do on the first day is icebreaker activities.
I always take a photo of the students plus write a note to their parents about their adventures of the first day . I send it home in a special folder tied with a ribbon.
I always have my homeroom students decorate a card with their name on it. After I laminate them, they make great locker tags. As for activities, one of my favorites is one I found on TpT a few years ago, in which the kids get to walk around the room, chewing bubble gum, while playing a get-to-know-you game.
I rad the book The First Day Jitters and we talk about what the word “jitters” means. We also talk about if we had any jitters. I also share that I have jitters on the first day of school each year.
I always go over rules and expectations. To keep it fun, I also do a read aloud.
I always take a picture of students on their first day with a cute frame that says First day of Kindergarten. They think it’s fun and it’s a cute keepsake for their parents.
One thing I always do on the first day is play a get to know you game! I tell my kids we’re going to tell 2 truths and 1 lie about ourselves. It’s fun getting to know them and fun for the kids to guess the lie!
One the first day of school I always begin by building a classroom community, We play a lot of get to know you team building activities. We also set goals for the quarter.
We do a scavenger hunt type activity to let the kids and teachers get to know each other.
It may sound silly, but I always do a tour of our school. I teach 4th grade in a 4-6 school, and the students are always nervous about entering a new school. I give each student a card that corresponds to one of the stops on our tour. Each child has a chance to participate in the tour, ask questions, and point out interesting things. Also, we get to practice our hallway expectations right off the bat! 🙂 Here’s to another fun and productive year, everyone!
On the first day of school I walk around to see where everyone will be located and welcome everyone back for an exciting school year.
One thing I do the first day of school is have students design a card that is 11×4 with their name and some things about themselves. After they share with a partner, and the class, I staple them to my bulletin board as the students line up. That way, we start getting to know eachother, practice routines, and begin personalizing the room right away.
I always create or find a team building activity for my students to participate in. The activities encourage cooperation, communication and trust.
I’m a new teacher and loved reading all of the great ideas so thank you all! I’m thinking about making it a tradition to take a first day of first grade picture of each student and doing some community building activities. Thanks for this great post. Have a great school year everyone!
As a Special Education Consultant Teacher, I feel that it is important to make a face to face meeting with all of my students in their general education classroom. I try to spend some personal time with each student and ask questions about what their likes and dislikes are and give them some information about me as well. I feel developing a strong rapport with my students is crucial to having a successful year.
On the first day of school I always give my students a welcome bag with a snack and some little gifts!
I always start with a friendly greeting and circle games/getting to know you activity. I like having kids sort themselves into four corners to simple questions such as “I have ___siblings” or my favorite food is “_________” I give four answers and they go into the corner with the response that fits them. It’s a great way for students to see what they have in common with others.
Our first day of school is a half day, so it really flies by quickly. I always spend a good chunk of time welcoming students with at least one book (maybe two) – First Day Jitters is what I’ve read the last few years or The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups. We also overview procedures as they come up and CHAMPS expectations for things like restroom, hallway, etc. I always take my kids on a school tour, too, since we have a large building and a somewhat transient population.
I always read “First Day Jitters.” The kids really get a kick about finding out that it’s the teacher who ins’t ready for school!
One thing I ALWAYS do on the first day is the toothpaste activity. You can do it individually or as groups. I prefer groups. I like to teach my students to work together. They squirt all the toothpaste onto. Paper plate. Then, I have them tooth picks that they have to use to get all the toothpaste back into the tube. It’s impossible, just like they cannot take back the hurtful words they say to each other or about one another.
On the first day, I greet my kids at the door with a big smile and warm hug. Then we play ice breaker type games to help build community and we read First Day Jitters. We do activities and enjoy our first day jitters snack and juice.
I always do a tour of the room. This is a time for them to see where the supplies, library, and activities are. Also, because I teach first grade, this gives me an opportunity to show them the teacher vs. Student areas and supplies.
I am a new teacher this year. I am hoping to take first day of school pictures with my students and send them home in a decorative foam frame made by the students.
I make an All About Ms. Hundt powerpoint to introduce myself to my students. We do a conversation circle, too so that students can learn about each other.
On the First Day of School, I always spend time letting the students know about me- I want them to feel like they are building that relationship early on. I also do get to know you games to build community, read Gingerbread Baby (because I love Gingerbread men and they think it is so funny to read it now!) and I want to start reading First Day Jitters this year and do the Jitter Juice with them =)
What is something I always do on the first day of school?
I share a Kindergarten Language friendly version of my “All About Me” book that includes a picture of me when I was in Kindergarten and what I liked about it, my family, my birthday, some of my favorite “things” and what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I always read First Day Jitters and The Teacher from the Black Lagoon!
Students share a little about themselves with one another. I also take photos of each of the students to put up on the wall. Students make a triangular prism shaped name card for their desk decorated small drawings, adjectives and phrases which describe their personality and interests.
I am a parent. On the first day , I love to spend few minutes with the kids telling them they they are growing up every day so learning at school along with their friends is an important part to have fun. Prepare them mentally about the upcoming days of learning new concepts, new projects etc.,
I like to get my kids up and moving the first day with either stations or a scavenger hunt.
I have students do a self-portrait and tell me what they want to be when they grow up. I also take beginning of the year pictures. By open house the students can see how much they’ve grown!
One thing I will do as a new teacher this year is to implement morning meetings and do it the entire year.
I always do a fun get to know you activity. It might be “find a classmate who…” or a simple ball toss game. Also, we read “Chrysanthemum” and talk about our feelings on the first day.
On the first day of school, I always do a tour of the classroom. It is important for students to learn how to walk in a line as well as learn where things are in the classroom! We make if fun by skipping, jumping, taking tiny steps to the next area.
This is the first official First Day for me! I am excited to start the year off with a get to know you activity with a Figure Me Out with math and then a human bingo for ice breaker.
I always take pictures of my students individually and as as a class on the first day.
I always read The Kissing Hand and later in the week we make Chester.
Jitter Juice is a well loved tradition in my second grade class! We read First Day Jitters, write about our jitters, read the Jitter Poem and then toast the jitters away with Jitter Juice (Blue Hi-C and ginger ale) in a cup with a crazy straw!
I always let them look through their desks so they know what’s in there.
On the first day, we tour the classroom and the school. It’s the kiddos’ first year in the main part of the school because Kinders are in a separate area.
We always share Good News from the summer and do the skittles game so that we can learn a little bit about each other! The biggest thing is routines and expectations right from the start so we can have a great year together!
On the first day I always do a fun getting to know you activity. I like to switch it up from year to year, but I try to make it something silly to break the ice.
The first day of school always revolves around watermelon! The rest of the week I introduce routines, but still do more watermelon activities 🙂
I always make a list of where or how students are getting home on the first day. I teach Kindergarten and so it’s a big priority to get them home safely. I want them to feel safe and welcomed so they’re excited to come back!
I love the first day of school—new beginnings!!! It is important from the very first step into your classroom to show the students love and put them at ease.
I also love those who take the time to create for TPT.
I always do a social contract on the first day of school. I have students write answers to four questions about how they want to be treated by me, by their peers, how I want to be treated, and how to solve conflicts. They answer one idea per sticky note and then and it to the poster with the appropriate question. Once everyone’s ideas are one the poster, I break students into groups to do a sort of the ideas, grouping the same one or closely related ideas together. We then create an agreement about how we will treat each other on a poster and sign it. This poster remains up throughout the year.
I like to read First Day Jitters and talk about feelings and make a first day feelings graph.
On the first day of school, I always have my kids choose a card (from a regular deck) and write their name on it with a sharpie. I then collect all the cards and use them all year to call on students. They’re easy to shuffle and everyone gets called on.
I’m a first year teacher so I have lots of ideas on what I want to do on the first day. I want them to get to know me so I plan on bringing a sack on the first day with objects that represent me and pull them out one by one and talk about my interests and hobbies. I also love the idea of getting them in a circle and asking them what they want in a teacher and maybe do a group activity with that. I also want to make a photo booth frame to take pics on the first day of school and later laminate to send home. I’m probably more excited for the first day of school than my students but I have been looking for a teaching job for a long time.
I am a new teacher but want to start the tradition of asking the students to write down a specific part of science that they are interested in.
I teach middle school science, so after going over procedures and expectations we like to do some fun and exciting demos to get the kids excited about science.
Introductions with ice breaker games
I always like to make a chart of the things the kids want to learn in first grade that year. It gives me insights into their hobbies and other things they love. I can then pull from that list throughout the year for random activities and lessons.
On the first day of school, we visit about our summers. Then I have the kiddos draw and write about what they did over the summer. I also have some who will instead choose to write about a “dream vacation.”
I always have a fun slide show that discusses everything they need to know about 4th grade for the year!
Each year I set the tone by telling my students that if they are honest with me I will not get mad and yell, and I never do!
On the first day, I always share with my classes how nervous I am! We then talk about their jitters (or do an activity). I alter the picture books I use but there will be a read aloud for them enjoy. We also start playing Two Truths and a Lie (to get to know each other a bit more with movement added in.) I always have way more planned for the first day than we can possibly get through! (locker combinations always consume a ton of time!) I start making connections, getting to know them/they me, and modeling school expectations (respect self, others and property.) Smiling is a must!!
Hey. On first day of school I try to greet everyone with a smile and label all supplies brought in with students name.
I always read First Day Jitters and The Teacher From the Black Lagoon.
Every year, On day one, I act out (role play) what to do when entering our classroom in the morning!
One thing that I always do on the first day of school is have the students write letters to their future selves. I then squirrel these away until the last week of school!
Smile and greet the children at the door!
One thing I always do for fun is read “Arnie the Doughnut.” The kids then receive a donut to name and eat of their own. Kids get a kick out of it.
I always do a team-building activity so the kids get to do some hands-on fun in the midst of all the rules and new information.
I don’t see students the first few days of school as a Reading Specialist, so I help students get to their classrooms and then spend the day getting ready for beginning of the year reading assessments (fun fun!). I do go around and visit the classrooms to see all my students from previous years and wish them good luck on the new school year!
I teach Kindergarten, and one thing that I do on the first day of school is read “The Kissing Hand” and create a picture for our parents! 🙂
I like to read first day jitters and have jitter juice! I also like to play the Find someone who. However not sure how that will work this year since we are looping.
One thing I do on the first day of school every year is to tell the students about myself. This always helps students feel more comfortable and get to know me better.
I always read and do a lesson based on the book The Girl Who Never MAkes Mistakes. I teach and train my kids that making mistakes is how we learn and grow.
I am a support teacher so I don’t meet with students right away. However, I seek out students I met with last school year to make a big deal about how much they have grown and ask about their summer.
I teach science lab so we go over lab safety & what to do in case of emergencies!
We like to make a graph with each student’s teacher from the year before. It’s a good math activity, and comes in handy at times you’re wanting to ask something of their previous teacher!
One thing I always do is make a social contract with my students. 🙂 I believe it is super important that we do this together (more of the children’s participation than mine) that way we know that WE, as a class, made up the rules and came up with the consequences.
We always start reading the first day! We also play ice breakers and have Jitter Juice. It’s a fun day so they want to come back tomorrow!
The one thing I do on the first day of school is an ice-breaker with my students. We play 2 truths and a lie. The kids seem to relax and we all laugh about it. It always works!
On the first day of school I always read Building a Bridge. I also read First Day Jitters it helps us to start building a community in our classroom. This year I am going to pull in bucket filler ideas and literature. The students always do a self – portrait and they love seeing what they drew at the end of the year.
I always take a picture of each student on the first day to use on our end of year scrapbooks!
One thing I always do is the name game. I have the class sit in a circle and have the first person say their name and the second says their name and the first persons name. So by the time it gets to the 30th and myself it’s. Little more difficult but the kids love it
One thing I do on the first day of school is getting-to-know-activities. I give kids the opportunity to move around and talk to other students so they can make connections and find out who they have some things in common with.
I always teach the students a simple math game on the first day of school like Tens Go Fish. They work with a partner to collect two cards that add to ten. The students love it every year.
Greet students at the door
I take a picture of each child on the first day with a “My First Day Sign” and let them fill out a paper with what they hope to learn and what they want to be when the grow up.
There are many things I always do with my kids. We draw a self portrait that I keep until the last day when they do a last day self portrait. I always take their picture and we talk about being bucket fillers in and out of the classroom.
We play “Four People on the Couch,” a game I learned when I was in Youth Ministry. It is a GREAT way for kids to bond. I also like to play a simplified version of Bunko because it is “forced” interaction between classmates…the kind of interaction all kids want but don’t know how to do themselves. So, girls are talking to guys, guys are talking to girls, popular kids are talking to unpopular kids, etc…does a great job of building a sense of whole-class community, and I have never had a kids say they didn’t enjoy it!
On the first day I always have the students play a get to know you bingo game . This gives them time to discover that we all have things in common and things that make us special !
Read aloud to my students!
I always have a fun ice breaker activity.
I teach 2nd and always read First Day Jitters! Then we make jitter juice together and have a special snack! The kiddos love it❤️
One thing that I always do in my Montessori classroom is to give a classroom tour, calling on returning students to explain what students would find in a particular place. Great way to share information and have the students engaged.
On the first day we draw a picture and describe ourselves as well as our goals for the year.
On the first day of school I like to read the book Chrysanthemum and we talk about how we are all unique in some way and that is what makes our class so special.
I teach English Language Learners in middle school. For my newcomers I use the first day of school to create a warm, welcoming, safe place for them. After a morning circle in which we begin to learn each other’s names and have some fun, I have them rewrite their daily schedule from a computer print out to something they can follow. Then we do a short scavenger hunt so they have a sense of where the office, gym, library, cafeteria, nurse..etc. are located with regard to my classroom.
I teach kindergarten and we always read The Kissing Hand and make a special “hand” to take home for our families…and I send a hand cutout home for each family to decorate and send back with a photo of their family to put in a book in our classroom library. They love looking at pictures of their families and their friends’ families!
I always have my first graders draw a picture of themselves on the first day and writr theit name. I out it in a “time capsule.” Then at the end of the year, we open the “time capsule ” and see how much their drawing and writing has changed.
I set up seats FOR my fifth graders. This way, no one wanders around unsure of where to go. I also write postcards to all of my students over the summer. In it, I tell them that I’ve picked up a small gift for each student. It’s at their desk before they arrive. I saw an earlier post, that the teacher teaches a mini lesson which contains some first-day-of-school content . Brilliant. I’m totally doing that!
I like to take photos of each student for our bulletin board. This year I’ll be having them choose 5 words to describe them in order to create a digital project using WordFoto.
On the first day of school I like to show the kids around the room and talk about what it will be used for during the year. I do activities to get to know the students and for them to get to know me. I always like games and activities that get them out of their seats.
I always take an individual picture of the students and do some sort of group or partner activity to build classroom community.
I have been teaching kindergarten and first grade. For kindergarten, on the first day of school, we always read “The Gingerbread Man” story and decorate gingerbread man cookies that I make ahead of time. Then I ask someone to take them away and hide in the principle’s office. My kids and I go looking for them. I take them to different important places at school (nurse’s office, music classroom, library, etc.) where they meet and interact with staff. The last place we go is our principal’s office where we find our “runaway” cookies and interact with the principal. Of course, we eat the cookies! The kids love that! For first grade, we always read “The Kissing Hand” story and create our own “kissing hands” for their moms to remind them they are loved by their children. Moms miss kids on the first day of school too 🙂 Then we eat “kissing hand” cookie I make ahead of time. At the end of the day, students give their “kissing hands” to moms, and usually, there are quite a few sweet tears. 🙂
I teach third grade, usually I know most of them or their brothers/sisters… but I made them fill some worksheets about themselves and their vacations, the things they like…but this year I will use lapbooks
On my first day I will read Bono the Monkey book.
I teach a triple grade (4-6) self-contained classroom in a rural area. Since I typically have largely the same group of kids every year and know the students entering my room we usually spend the first hour + doing some sharing about our summer and spending time together. I find that giving my students the time to share at the beginning of the day helps instructions go smoother later in the day.
On the first day of school I give my students a large index card to make a personalized name tag. The students write their name in the center then on each corner I have them put a fact about themselves. I have them draw a small picture and label for each fact. Some of the things I have had them share are favorite food, animal, sport, subject, or book. I also give them one wild card corner, that they can share anything they want the class to know about themselves. Then I have the students share the information on the name tag with the others in their learning club.
Always love doing get to know you Bingo. It’s a great way for the kids to get to know each other. I also like to make sensory bottles. This way kids have something right away.
We always make a chart of things the students want in a teacher. We use this as a time to discuss why those things are important to them and I can also share with them strengths I have in those areas! Alternatively, I can share with them weaknesses and goals I have to help meet their ideal teacher wishlist 🙂
On the first day, I like to walk through the school to get a feel for what the school climate will be, and meet all of the people (teachers and students) I’ll be working with through the year!
This is my first ear teaching, but one the first day I want to make up a cheer with my class! I think it’ll be a fun way to get the kids involved, getting to know each other, and a great way to celebrate in the class year round!
Every year I have students decorate their name for a door or bulletin board decoration. We take them out throughout the day. Keeps them busy when I have to deal with paperwork or last minute registrations 🙂
get to know each other activities
On the first day we playinite to win it fun challenges and it’s a great ice breaker!
I teach 5th grade. On the 1st day I always have the students fill in an all about me form so I know what name they like to be called, their birthrate, who they live with, what subjects they really like and what hobbies they like or sports they play. I feel that helps me to get to know them.
I always eat lunch with my students! I want them to know we are a family.
On the first day I always read the students the book “First Day Jitters”!
I love to do a math about me page with my students. It helps them get to know one another and start math practice on the first day!
I give everyone on my team a little gift!
My students come from all over the district to my program one day a week so I always have a tour the first day so the students get comfortable finding all of the important places in this school. I also do some Kagan get to know you activities for team building.
I’m a first year teacher and will be teaching Grade 2 (in Egypt!). I saw a great idea for a classroom scavenger hunt to help the students get to know the room, followed by a classroom tour. I definitely want to make this a tradition!
I like to do an activity where students fill out a worksheet that makes them guess what my favorite food, candy, color, etc is. Then we discuss as a group. The students get so excited when they get the answers correct.
I see each class in our school for nine weeks, so I have the opportunity to have the “first day” happen throughout the school year. I think the one thing we review in each class that day is the concepts of digital citizenship, and a discussion on why we use computers in our school and the rules around their use.
On the first day I always like to do an Ice Breaker activity to get to know each other, then I have them fill out a “Who am I…” questionnaire. Now that I am moving to K-5th grade from HS, I am still trying to pin down exactly what I will do…
I always have a special activity. When we started with the ocean, we would have a treasure hunt with coded clues and maps. When we started with a detective theme we would have a mystery case to solve. Again with codes, clues and maps. They get so excited and can’t wait to see what we will be doing next. It sure breaks up the day when we spend so much time on expectations and procedures.
I’m always looking for new ideas to try with my kiddos and there really isn’t any one thing I always do! I do love giving a themed gift at the end of the day congratulating them on making it through their first day of….
I always play a getting to know you game. I love finding out what the kids love to do.
I love the first day of school because everything is so fresh! I always start with sharks during the science part of the day. The children love it and it gives them a time to wind down at the end of the day. We study sharks for about two weeks–sometimes three weeks–depending on the class! They always love it!
I always start with growth mindset activities. It works for most of my kids.
I teach Kindergarten and on the first day I always let the kiddos write in shaving cream! I teach them class rules first and then we play! I have them write their name/letters in the shaving cream. It lets them have fun on a day with a lot of procedures and routines an is a quick check for me to see who can write!
For the 1st day/week of school, we always create a class pledge/promise after close reading the Pledge of Allegiances. Our class pledge is read ever day at the beginning of school, during morning meetings!
I like to make a class book on the first day, something we can look back on throughout the year!
I always make sure to teach my kiddos about how to ask to go to the bathroom, and the procedures for communicating that with me! They love the hand signals I use in my classroom- it’s like a secret code that only takes a nod of the head and they don’t have to be embarrassed about asking to go. Plus it doesn’t interrupt my lesson with a “Can I go to the bathroom” when I think it’s going to be a brilliant piece of insight into my lessons 🙂
I great each student at the door. I always introduce myself to the whole class. We go over rules and procedures. Our first writing sample of the year is How I Spent My Summer Vacation. I read the book to them. Tell them about my summer vacation. Then they write about theirs.
We read The Kissing Hand and have them put their hand print on a paper with a heart sticker in the middle of their hands – parents love this as a back to school memory
One thing I do on the first day of school is have students choose 3 books from our class library that interest them. We start the year getting excited about reading and finding books that we enjoy.
I always do a get to know you warm up activity.
On the first day of school, I always give students a “tour” of the classroom by walking through and pointing everything out to them. We also do a “tour” of our books, and afterwards, we will organize our supplies and desks.
I always start a read aloud sharing the importance of reading every day!!
I usually have the students participate in getting to know you activities, a group challenge to work together cooperatively, and general rules and procedures are introduced.
I don’t have a homeroom but work with kids throughout the school. I always help the kinders and new kids find their classrooms and then go visit my former students. Love those hugs!!
I give my students a silly questionnaire with questions like “would you rather live without your dominant hand or your cell phone? Justify your answer ” and “draw the perfect sandwich. include labels. ” This gives me a good sense of the person without getting too personal on the first day. I have them do a questionnaire online with Google forms later in the week for the more personal stuff, so I can compile it on a goggle spreadsheet for every class.
I always go over and model procedures. Over and over again!
We make instant pudding. Working together, following directions and a little bit of math makes this a fun way to start the year. Plus we have a sweet snack to end the day!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is teach procedures! Harry Wong’s book, First Six Weeks of School has been fabulous in establishing a great classroom.
On the first day of school we play some getting to know you games and we start to learn everyone’s name.
On the first day of school, I like to have my students write a short letter to me telling me one thing (or many) that they would like me to know about them. This allows my students to tell me what they think is important for me to know, which helps me to learn about them and the various things that might be going on in their lives.
I love having my students make a little “time capsule.” I have a paper for them to fill out about things they like, etc, then we hide it away until the end of school. It’s fun to see how we’ve changed! 🙂
I use a lot of music in our classroom, starting on the very first day. The first day every year I begin with the song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Bumble-Bee, Tell us what your name should be…” It is a chant of sorts, where the students echo the chosen student’s name, clap it, snap it, and whisper it, as well. Then, we all give a big “good morning!”, adding the child’s name. It is a class favorite and is often requested, especially when we have new students join us throughout the year.
Hi! One thing that I do on the first day of school: I do read First Day Jitters, I do set the tone, but the unique thing that I do is to have the students complete a couple of graphs. One tells how old we are, and the picture graph shows how we go home. We use the graphs to introduce ourselves and budging the listening and speaking standards.
On the first day, I greet each student work a smile at the door. I then tell them a few things about me and allow them time to share something about themselves. Then we work on a getting to know your classmates assignment. I also take “First day in 2nd grade” photos of them.
I always start with an intro of myself. Most of the students already know who I am, but having them as my students is completely different. They then participate in some interactive getting to know you activities.
I always make sure to do some team building/getting to know you among the students. I want to create community from day one.
My favorite first day activity is to do a 5 senses activity using Pop rocks. I also love getting that first day hug or high five.
The first day of school, I have the students complete a who am I activity. We share. I then give a tour of the classroom. Finally we go over the class routines, rules, and expectations.
I teach Middle School so I always do a ice breaker on the first day. It is a bingo type of set up where the students have to find someone who fits the square description and have them sign it. The first student to fill the whole board wins a free homework pass.
On the first day of school, I help make students feel at ease, set up classroom routines/expectations, and teach them how to use our resources the correct way. I find that establishing this first helps them know what to do and how to do it so the rest of the year runs smooth in no time!
As a Kindergarten teacher for the last few years I always read a Pete the Cat book and took a tour of the school while looking for Pete. This was instrumental because it’s there first year in the “big” school so going together during a fun activity helped them feel less intimidated. It also allowed them to learn a little about the school. However, I am moving to Second Grade and don’t know what I am doing yet : /
I always do a hunt and search around the classroom to help explain what is in the classroom and its purpose. I also take a picture of each student on the first day and send it home that week at Back to School night so that every parent has a keepsake of their child’s first day of first grade.
One thing I like to do on the first day of school is read Dr. Seuss Oh! The Places You’ll Go. We talk about the “places” they will go in third grade and then they write their own story following the structure of the story.
I like to do a little get to know you activity called truths and fibs. I have several statements about myself pre-written and displayed on the data projector screen. The students have to guess if it is a truth or a fib. I try to pick things they wouldn’t know unless they knew me; things most are really surprised to learn are truths. It’s a hoot! Afterwards, they do the same on their own form, writing statements about themselves. We play hands up, pair up over the next few days so students can better get to know each other.
The first day is when we try to calm the nerves of the new, introduce each other, make selfies for lockers and name tags for desks. I also start to read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I also begin to establish routines the very first day, we take a tour of the classroom and start to learn what is what in the classroom.
Read aloud! I love, love, love to read to my students. I want them to love reading as much as I do!! I try to find books that will hook them, so I read a wide variety of genres so that everyone can find what interests them. This past year I had a student who hated reading and always had. I finally found books that he loved!! I bought everyone I could find. (Interactive history books)! Who would have thought??!!
One thing I always do on the first day of school is build our classroom community by doing team building activities, read alouds, and reflections!
On the first day of school, I always have my students write a letter to themselves that they receive on the last day of school.
I am a high school special education teacher. After we introduce ourselves and do a small introduction activity, I have the group make classroom rules all together. I do this so I am not just telling them rules and so we can make sure everyone has a comfortable learning environment. I make a list on a poster and post it on the wall. Depending on the class, I follow up with a sheet that helps me understand their comfort level. We go through a list of questions as a group and they circle “comfort zone”, “challenge zone”, or “panic zone”. I allow students to share if they want but they do not have to. I do this and collect them later to see how each student learns best. An example statement may be reading in front of the class.
I ask my students what kind of a teacher they expect me to be before we discuss classroom rules on the first day. Then, they write their name on a piece of puzzle and decorate it as their own before we combine them to build a big class puzzle.
We go over the rules & the each student fills out an All About Me sheet which they share.
This will be my first day of school and I would like to develop an anchor chart with my students about what will help them succeed this year. I really appreciate all the ideas shared in these comments as it has provided excellent fodder for my own first day!
On the first day of school I always spend time getting to know my students and go over procedures with them. We have share time and I take them on a tour around the school. I introduced them to the centers and each classrooms in the school.
One thing I always do is pray for my students. Before the day starts, I sit at my desk and specifically say each students name and pray that I will be able to reach them and to keep them and their families safe.
I need to make time for this Monday morning. Thanks for reminding me of what’s really important!
This is only my second year teaching third grade, but one thing we did last year on the first day was first day selfies, read First Day Jitters, took a tour of the school, and did some team building activities! Ready for this year!
I always love to do first day pictures. It is really great to look back on these when doing last day pictures.
I always start with asking my firsties how they felt the night before school. After a discussion of their feelings, I read the book, The Night Before First Grade. We discuss what happened in the book, and then we make a craftivity.
I always put on my bright red lipstick and smile until my cheeks hurt.
I always have the kids write a letter to themselves. They have to talk about what they are looking forward to, nervous about and how they are feeling so far. We usually write them after lunch on day 1. I save the letters and put them on their desks on the last day of school. They love to see how “bad” their handwriting and sentences were and it’s great to see how proud they are of their growth.
One thing I always do in my Kindergarten class on the first day of school, is share the book, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”. Kids love that book and so do I. I like the fact that it is something familiar to most of them and they feel more comfortable with something they are familiar with. We sing the abc song forward and backwards. The kids are usually very impressed that I can sing the abc song backwards without looking. It builds anticipation to be able to do this, too, and it challenges the ones that don’t know their alphabet that well to work harder to learn it…not only forwards, but backwards. We talk about why we do need to learn the alphabet and I sing another alphabet song I know that stresses the reason we learn the alphabet is so that we can learn to READ.
On the first day of school I always play a funny get to know you game where everybody has a piece of sticky tape on there nose and they try to take other people’s tape by only touching noses. The last one with all the tape stick to their nose wins. It’s always a hilarious sight!
I love doing the all about me bag. The kiddos have so much fun with it!
I always read The Giving Tree.
I always try to do an activity that will help me get to know my students a little more without giving them the anxiety of speaking in front of their peers. I’ve done group shares, posters for the classroom, little books.. things like that. Taking notes on my students’ interests helps me make connections through the year.
I set aside time for the students to have a Q & A with me so they can get to know me better. Most students have lots of questions once I tell them that I use to be a Deputy Sheriff before I became a teacher.
We have some editable labels we’d love for you to feature if you’re doing a post update for 2018! We typically use them for organization, but love the idea of using them for names too.
I taught 6-8 Math Resource this past year and gave each grade level a color and used the labels for workbook bins, class schedules and turn-in drawers to help students remember where to look for their grade level.
Great post on how to make your first day back to school success, I would definitely like to read on similar topics
Great ideas! I like the idea of crafting back-to-school decors to add a fun yet academic vibes to the classroom. Do you have any tips for making great event graphics as designs?
These activities can create an exciting and positive atmosphere on the first day of school, and help students feel comfortable and excited to start the new school year. Well written article really liked it
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There are so many ideas to organize and accomplish on the first day of school, that it may start to feel overwhelming. Add in some first-day jitters (for you and the students!) and what is a teacher to do? Keep the following four main goals in mind and you’ll ease anxiety, make students feel comfortable, and keep your lucky little learners happy and busy all day!
- Teach rules and expectations
- Get to know each other and start learning names
- Learn the organization of the classroom
- Make students feel part of a new classroom and school community
1. Classroom Rules and Expectations
When it comes to classroom rules and expectations, repetition and modeling are keys to success. We like to say “Go slow now to go fast later.” Take the time to set our students and classroom up for success for the whole year by concentrating on rules and expectations from day one!
These affirming classroom rules and expectation posters are the perfect addition to any classroom!
Buy Bundle on TpT
Teacher Tips for Teaching Classroom Rules and Expectations:
Use Brag Tags to promote positive behavior . Students love to collect these, and they can be a game changer in managing classroom behaviors. Team Lucky Little Learners
Buy the Bundle on TpT
“I have “STAR rules” Safety, Thoughts, Attitude, and Respect, but I let the students define what that would look like in the classroom. I have used the same system every year since I started teaching and it has been very effective. When you give them the power to define the “rules” it makes them feel like it’s really their class too but it also puts the responsibility back on them. I would say all the time…remember you said safety is sitting in your seat correctly or you defined respect as listening when someone else is speaking. It keeps them accountable for their actions.” E.W. Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group
“In my district, we do PBIS, so we have school-wide rules. I create a ‘looks like/sounds like chart’ in my classroom for each of the rules. The students come up with how the rules look & sound in our classroom. For example, what does “BE SAFE” look like and sound like in our room.” Team Lucky Little Learners
Have students act out correct/incorrect behaviors for each rule as a collaborative class skit. Team Lucky Little Learners
“We always study the constitution in September and created our own based on the class rules we established on the first day. The kids all signed it and it was displayed for the rest of the year.” Team Lucky Little Learners
2. Get to Know Your Classmates
Did you know that when students are given the opportunity to positively engage with their peers , their overall learning outcomes improve? It’s true! Help students get to know their new classmates and future friends with plenty of get-to-know-you activities during the first few days of school. This “Find Someone Who Likes To…” scavenger hunt is a way to get students talking to each other, learning names, and sharing common interests.
Teacher Tips to Get to Know Your Classmates:
“Something I do on the first day of school, is print out all the kids’ names using the font “doodle gum”. I have the kids color their name, and draw pictures all over the page that represent them. This gives me time to coordinate supplies, and get my their desks in order.” Anonymous, Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group
“Play Meet Me in the Middle – Students stand in a large circle around the room. The teacher calls out an activity or interest, and all students who agree with the statement meet in the middle of the circle and high-five (ex: meet me in the middle if you like pizza. Meet me in the middle if you have a sibling, etc. ) T.S. Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group
3. What’s in the Classroom?
You’ve organized your library, your seating, and your supplies. Now it’s time to show your new class exactly where everything is and how to basically function in the classroom. Sounds easy, right, right? The best way is to let students experience it for themselves! Get your students up and moving to explore their new classroom. With this Back to School Scavenger Hunt , students must find the clues and items on each list. BONUS – this Scavenger Hunt List is editable, so it can be adjusted to fit your needs.
Teacher Tips for Classroom Organization:
“Label everything! These editable labels are an organizing lifesaver!” Team Lucky Little Learners
“If you have Open House before school begins, make the most of it! Use this helpful meet the teacher checklist so students and families have a head start in learning where to find everything they need in their new classroom.” Team Lucky Little Learners
“Assign classroom helper jobs to help manage supplies.” Team Lucky Little Learners
DOWNLOAD THE SET HERE
4. Welcome to a New Classroom Community
Nothing reaches a class like the magic of a great book. Connect with your new students with a meaningful classroom read aloud about the first day of school. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite back to school read alouds, and activities to match. You can check them all out here .
Teacher Tip for an AWESOME First Day Read Aloud & Activity:
“This year we read Alma and the Worry Stone on the very first day. Each student got to pick three colors of clay and blend them together. They put their thumbprint into it and I took them home to bake! I had kids that kept that stone ALL YEAR LONG.” T.S. Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group
We’re here to support you on the first day of school, and every day after that. Check out some of these helpful blog posts that will set you up for success on the first day of school and beyond:
Tips and Timesavers for Back to School Set Up
Morning Work Ideas to Implement Now!
How to Create a Bucket Filler Classroom
Where did you get the different colors of clay?
Hello Tiffany! The clay was purchased at Amazon. Here’s the link: Baking Clay . Let us know how this goes with your students!
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25 Foolproof First Day of School Activities
March 17, 2022 // by Joanna Balla-Elliot
The first day of school is all about setting expectations, learning about each other, and building culture. It is an anxious time so you'll want to set students at ease right away with something to do walking in. As the day progresses, you'll want to balance get-to-know-you activities with a review of classroom rules, and an introduction to a few academic routines. The first day will fly by in the best of ways with this foolproof list of engaging activities.
1. name tag share .
Every year, I have students design a name tag as their first assignment walking in the door. Something so concrete and so simple helps put students at ease. It also is a great first partner share when everyone has arrived.
Learn more: Name Tag Slide
2. Something You Read/Learned This Summer
I don't ask students to write about what they did during the summer as that puts pressure to share lavish adventures. Rather, I ask students what they read or learned over the summer. Define these broadly. Did they read video game manuals? Did they learn how to ride a bike?
Learn More: Retrieval Practice
3. classroom map / scavenger hunt.
Introduce students to the new space by hosting a scavenger hunt or a map drawing assignment . Pair them up in small teams to complete this task.
Learn More: Hey Let's Make Stuff
4. Classroom Crest
This fun activity further builds a sense of unity and belonging in this new space.
Learn More: Committee for the Children
5. Interactive Modeling
Practice interactive modeling to teach students key routines for your class. This method works wonders and will stick with students!
Learn More: Responsive Classroom
6. Hopes and Dreams
Begin the process of creating Hopes and Dreams for the year as a way to initiate goal development for students.
Fun Icebreaker Games
7. stem challenge .
This STEM-based team-building activity is a great way to break the ice and get students collaborating. Be sure to review your expectations for teamwork beforehand and to debrief how each group did afterward.
Learn More: Matt Farrell
8. Puzzle Piece Activity
Have students decorate a large puzzle piece with artwork representing their favorite hobbies. Provide stickers or magazines to cut out for students who don't feel comfortable drawing. Add the puzzle pieces to one large mural on a bulletin board outside your classroom. Students will feel a sense of belonging having added something to the room so early on in the year.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
9. Beach Ball Activity
Fill a beach ball with fun yet low-stakes get-to-know-you questions. Stay away from overly vulnerable or potentially sensitive questions for this one. Toss the ball around the circle. Wherever your right thumb lands is the question you need to answer.
Learn More: ThoughtCo
10. Paper Snowballs
The only thing I remember from 5th grade is doing a "snowball fight" on the first day of school. This simple get-to-know-you game is tons of fun. Be sure to set ground rules about throwing the snowballs and cleaning up.
Learn More: Teaching Made Practical
This activity has students pair up and ask each other a series of creative questions. They record their partner's answers in the respective circle and see what similarities they find.
Learn More: Conflict Resolution Frienn Diagram
12. pica ferme nada.
Get your students' refreshed on place value and their brains firing with this engaging math activity. Pica Ferme Nada is the perfect game to shake off that summer fog. Practice your expectations around raised hands and positive peer support through this game.
Learn more: Sarah Buratti
13. My Ideal Day Pie Chart
Review fractions and pie charts while getting to know more about what makes each student's perfect day!
14. I am From Poems
I am From Poems make for a beautiful, literary way to learn about each others' backgrounds. Use this classroom activity with older students. Co-create a template after reading the original poem and then have students write their own.
Learn More: UMN.edu
15. Independent Reading Time
The first day is the perfect time to introduce your expectations around independent reading and your classroom library. Invite students to fill out a reading survey and while they are doing that, call groups one by one to the library. Discuss "just-right" books with them and have students take books back to their seats.
Learn More: The Thinker Builder
16. Letter to My Future Self
Time capsule letters are a great way to promote self-reflection and have your students envision their future selves.
17. captain's coming .
Captain's Coming is a game to get heart rates up while having fun. It is important to provide communal games during recess for the first few days of school.
Learn More: Mindy Brady
18. Zentangle Coloring Pages
It is crucial to provide students time to decompress and process the new information they are learning. These zen coloring options are a fantastic idea.
Learn More: Just Color
19. Brain Teasers
Ask students these tricky brain teasers during lunchtime to stimulate conversation and keep things lighthearted.
Learn More: Reader's Digest
20. Would You Rather Questions
Here's a great list of Would You Rather questions that will have students breaking the ice with each other.
Learn More: Family Education
21. Art For Kids Hub
Have students share their creations on a bulletin board. Building ownership of the classroom and risk-taking in low-stakes ways goes such a long way in the early days.
Learn More: Art for Kids Hub
You can't go wrong with a game of Kahoot! This may be a fun way to roll out Chromebooks or IPads on Day 1. Make a Kahoot with fun facts about your life to allow students to get to know more about their new teacher.
Learn More: 25 Kahoot Ideas and Features to Use in Your Classroom
23. Green Glass Door
Get students' brains itching with this tricky word game . This is a great way to spend some downtime before dismissal or to introduce during lunch to provide more structure.
Learn More: The Game Gal
24. Going on a Picnic
This fun game has students guess a category of the list of items they are taking on a picnic.
Like twenty-questions but with a twist, this game is sure to get some giggles!
Congratulations on giving your students a sense of belonging, significance, and fun on their first day of school!
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Back to School Activities | First Week of School | Beginning of the Year BUNDLE
First Week of School Kindergarten Activities | First Day of School
Back to School Activities for the First Week of School
Also included in: The ULTIMATE First Grade Starter Kit BUNDLE
Candy All About Me Back to School Writing Activities - First Week of School
First Day of School - I Am Unique Fingerprint Writing Activity
Back to School 3rd Grade | First Week of School Third Grade Activities
Also included in: 3rd Grade Back to School Activities and Bulletin Board BUNDLE
First Day of Kindergarten Lesson Plans Back to School Activities and Awards
Back to School - Beginning of the Year Activities for the First Week Back
First Week of School and First Day of School Activities
- Internet Activities
- Easel Activity
Also included in: Back to School Bundle of Essentials
Back to School Activities - First Week of School for Secondary Students
Also included in: Secondary English Curriculum Bundle: Common Core - Grades 7-10
First Week of School Activities 3rd Grade Back to School Trivia Game
Also included in: End of the School Year Activities Trivia Game 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Grade BUNDLE
Back to School Activities First Week Beginning of the Year
First Day of Middle School Getting to Know You Icebreaker Activity: Bottle Flip
Also included in: First Week of Middle School: Building Relationships Bundle of Lesson Plans
Back to School Activities | First Week of School | Beginning of Year Printables
Back to School Activities for the First Weeks of First Grade
5th Grade All About Me - First Day of Back to School Activities - Bulletin Board
All About Me First Day of School Get to Know You Worksheets Activities
First Day of School STEM Tower Activity
Also included in: First Week of School Complete Science Bundle
Back to School Stations - First Day of School Activity (Middle & High School)
Also included in: Back-to-School Stations - Digital & Traditional - Distance Learning
Back to School Activities & Worksheets | First Week of School
Back to School Team Building Activities First Day of School All About Me
All About Me Science Flask - First Day of School Science Activity
Also included in: Back to School Science All About Me - Bundle | Distance Learning
You're Finally Here! Back to School & First Day of School Activities
5th Grade Back to School Activities (First Week of School Beginning of the Year)
Also included in: 5th Grade Back to School Activities: First Week of School Activities 5th Grade
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The Best Back to School Activities for First Grade
I am SO excited to share the best back to school activities for first grade with you today! You and your first graders will love them!
This set of thirteen Back to School and First Day Activities for First Grade will save you time as you prep for the first week of school. Additionally, it will engage your first graders in meaningful and fun activities. The beginning of the year is a special time for first graders, as they transition into the school environment and adjust to new friends and rules. There are lots of changes and lots of things to be excited about!
These are the best back to school activities to complete the first few weeks of school as you welcome in your new first graders. They will help them accommodate to their new role and schedule, and create new friendships with their classmates. Hopefully, these activities will help make the transition to first grade fun and engaging!
Why teachers and students LOVE these activities
💖 Teachers love how engaging and simple these activities are to prep. They also help teachers get to know their students and build classroom community. There’s so much going on at the start of a new school year. This resource will help relieve the burden of finding things to do.
💖 Students love these activities because they help them share about themselves, get to know their classmates, and have fun the first week of school. They also help ease them into the routine and structure of a new classroom.
13 of the Best Back to School Activities for First Grade
Jitter Juice is a tried-and-true class favorite that my students continued to talk about and reference as one of their best memories from the school year. This is an original poem that I wrote to help ease the first day jitters, all while reading along and enjoying a yummy cup of Jitter Juice (recipe included)! Your students are guaranteed to LOVE this activity.
The First Grade Survey will help you students share about themselves with you and their classmates. Find out how they’re feeling about starting first grade, what they’re good at, and what they’re excited to learn in your classroom. The self-portrait is always fun to draw and look back on at the end of the year, too!
Grab the included templates and some sentences strips to create the cutest back to school paper crowns around. There are four different designs to choose from.
After a first grade-themed back to school read-aloud of your choice, find out how your students spent The Night Before First Grade . Students will briefly draw and describe what they did before the big first day of school!
Follow up any of the get-to-know you activities with paper friendship bracelets. Give each student a page of bracelets to color and cut. Then, they can exchange them with their friends and promote conversations at home!
What’s in a first grader’s backpack ? is a simple writing craft. Students write down things that a first grader needs to be successful. Then, create the backpack and place the writing paper within the pocket. This would make a super cute hallway display!
Partner students together to color, cut, and create these super fun friendship puzzles! There are three puzzle designs to choose from. Students work in pairs to share and assemble their puzzles. It’s a great way to support cooperation!
Looking for an easy Ice Breaker? Find-a-friend is the perfect way to encourage your students to get to know one another. The prompts are easy (i.e. “Find a friend who lost a tooth!”) and they get to collect signatures as they move around the room finding new friends!
Create a Class Book that shares all the new faces in your classroom! Students will draw a self-portrait and you’ll combine each one into a class book. Then, you can read and share it with your new class so they can get to know one another better. This will make an excellent addition to your reading center – the kids love to look at the drawings they made!
The following activities go great with the book First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman or First Grade, Here I Come! By Nancy Carlson, but any book about first grade will do !
- Activity #1: Complete a whole group tree map about first graders
- Activity #2: Discuss the similarities and differences between kindergarteners and first graders. Complete a whole group double bubble map and then have students complete the individual double bubble map
- Activity #3: Journal activity using the included sentence starter
Create a My First Week of First Grade Book (2 versions included) to share all the fun from the first week of first grade!
Free back to school activity
Fill out the form at the bottom of this post to grab the FREE writing paper pictured below! It’s a great prompt to use at the end of the first week of school. (This example says kindergarten, but there are prompts for K-2 included!)
Looking for more back to school activities?
I hope you find that these are the best back to school activities for first grade, too! They are all available for purchase here. You can also check out these posts for more activities to use as you prepare for the first day of school!
Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.
- kindergarten , first grade , ELA , literacy , back to school , freebie , activities , august , September
Hi, i'm abby.
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The first day of school can be challenging for educators, as students start to pour in and get reoriented to the goals and expectations of the school year. As a teacher, you can face several challenges in setting the right tone, which is why the first day of school activities are important to plan out and execute.
You can focus on in-class decorations, fun introductions, educational games , show & tell activities, and other fun activities that can instill a sense of enthusiasm and playfulness. You can even create fun group mission statements that your class can fill out as a way of expressing intent and vision for the rest of the year.
21 Best First Day Of School Activities
1. Friends Diagrams
You can pair up students in the classroom and ask them to find similar interests to fill out a Friendship Venn diagram. This can be a unique way to help students understand how math can be used for practical applications.
Age Range – 6 years and older
Tools Needed – Venn diagram template
Special Note – Add prompts to help kids understand better
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2. My ideal day chart
You can have your students design their ideal first day of school and convert their ideas into a pie chart. You can add instructions on how to color, categorize, and label different parts correctly to have the chart represent their day.
Tools Needed – Pie chart outline, colors
Special Note – Stickers will help label different categories
3. Introductions all around
Introductions are some of the most fun first day of school get to know you activities, and you can have your students share a few facts that their classmates didn’t know about. You can also use an instrument to turn introductions into songs.
Age Range – 3 years and older
Tools Needed – Instrument
Special Note – Rhyming introductions will be more fun
4. Name tags for kids
You can make customized name tags for everyone to get to know each other better. Your students can also name tags to stick onto toys, books, and other objects. This personalizes the first day of school, which can be overwhelming for some students.
Tools Needed – Stickers and labels
Special Note – Initials will also be helpful
5. Designing a classroom crest
A memorable first day of school activity can be around designing crests that represent the classroom’s mission and vision. You can prepare templates for kids to draw into, along with a motto and symbols representing different aspects.
Tools Needed – Template, colors, labels, stickers
Special Note – Explaining the utility of crests will keep them engaged
6. Get to know your teachers!
The first day of school can be stressful for kids that are more introverted and shyer. By having fun facts about yourself listed out, along with hobbies, interests, and favorite books, you can encourage everyone to talk to you about anything on the first day.
Tools Needed – Printable sheets
Special Note – Talking about relatable traits and hobbies will be key
7. First day of school time capsule
You can add fun mementos, toys, stickers, and other unique objects to help kids understand the value of archiving and storing memories. You can also make unique time capsules for each child to take home at the end of the school year.
Age Range – 4 years and older
Tools Needed – Toys, stickers, notes, labels
Special Note – Having the students fill up their capsule will be more impactful
8. Book reading activities
Instead of jumping straight into the curricula, you can take the first day of school to read books aloud and engage kids in storytelling. You can make the first day more magical and awe-inspiring, bringing the joy of reading intently back into their mindset.
Tools Needed – Story-rich fiction books
Special Note – You can find the right book by referencing the Lexile score
9. Share a compliment
You can have your class add blank stickers to their backs, as students write compliments on them anonymously. This can significantly uplift children’s morale on the first day of school.
Tools Needed – Large stickers, pencils
Special Note – Adding prompts for compliments will be ideal
10. Would you rather questions
You can have your students unpack the first day of school with would you rather questions. You can ask them what they’d like for lunch, what they want to study, what they’d like to play, etc. This can be a group activity as well, with kids voting on what they’d like.
Age Range – 5 years and older
Tools Needed – Voting sheets, pencils
Special Note – Making the questions as unique as possible will garner specific responses
11. Individual promises
Your students can fill out a promise sheet about what they plan to do and what promises they plan to keep by the end of the school year. You can customize each sheet to the strengths and exploratory areas you’d like each child to focus on.
Tools Needed – Template
Special Note – Adding blanks where kids can fill out promise sheets is ideal.
12. Two truths and a lie
This is a fun first day of school activity that asks kids to get creative and imagine unique lies and specific truths. You can have them write it down and read it out loud for the entire class to guess.
Tools Needed – Paper, pencils
Special Note – You can provide examples of truths and lies
You can have your students draw self-portraits and add what they love within the paper layout. You can have them make it unique and personalized by adding their names at the top of the sheet.
Tools Needed – Paper, colors
Special Note – Ask your students to be as colorful as possible
14. Sticky-note expectations
You can have a paper board on the wall and ask students to add what they expect from their class for the year. They can write their thoughts on a sticky note and place it on the board directly.
Tools Needed – Sticky notes, board, colors
Special Note – Asking specific areas, such as subjects, topics, goals, etc. will be ideal
15. Printable coloring worksheets
You can create coloring sheets around each student’s personality and hobbies and have them fill them out with colors, prompts, and answers to questions. This can be hung up on the classroom wall to make each child feel special.
Tools Needed – Paper sheets, colors, templates
Special Note – Focusing on unique traits and hobbies will be key
16. Art session
By organizing a few easels and painting supplies, you can start the first day of school with an art session. You can ask students to express themselves through art and give them a memorable experience for the start of the school year.
Tools Needed – Easel, painting supplies, props
Special Note – Giving them specific direction will make the session more impactful
17. Trivia Day!
You can host a Kahoot-style Trivia Day session, asking questions about what they’ve learned during their break. You can also focus on specific subjects, such as math and science, to get them into the right mindset for getting back to learning.
Tools Needed – Trivia questions
Special Note – Making the quiz specific to subjects or goals will be the right way ahead
18. I-Spy Back to School
An I-Spy game with back-to-school elements will make the first day of school more interesting. You can have students guess the right answers or write them down for rewards. You can also make the activity more academic by asking kids to solve puzzles for the prompt.
Tools Needed – Props, quiz list, paper
Special Note – Having distinct items spread across the room will make the activity more dynamic
19. Birthday boards!
Birthday boards are a great first day of school activities elementary students will enjoy as something fun to look forward to. You can plan special celebrations around each child’s birthday and make it a fun activity for everyone.
Tools Needed – Board, paper, buttons, calendar templates
Special Note – You can make paper cutouts of the kid’s names and stick them on specific dates
20. Role-playing on the first day
To make the first day of school more exciting, you can assign different roles, professions, and jobs to kids and have them role play for accomplishing specific tasks. You can have some kids be ice-cream vendors, while other kids be comedians.
Tools Needed – Paper, colors, tasks list
Special Note – Asking what your students want to be when they grow up can help you customize the professions and tasks lists
21. Making FDoS welcome bags
Your students can make welcome bags for other classrooms for the first day of school (FDoS). The activity can help students across different classrooms feel connected to each other. You can also have students fill out these bags in any way they like.
Tools Needed – Paper bags, ribbons, stickers, labels, colors, props
Special Note – You can ask students to think about how they’d feel when they receive a welcome bag
Let’s check out the first day of school activities for remote learning classrooms
Remote learning is quickly emerging as the new norm worldwide, with teachers having to bring out hybrid activities ideas for the first day of school. These fun-filled and engaging online first day of school activities will help you get your classroom excited for the school year.
1. Holiday Snapshots
In this activity, students can prepare snapshots of their vacation with different activities, things they learned, places they visited, and other fun memories they’d like to share. You can make the activity even more interactive by having them present their snapshots in class.
Tools Needed – Snapshot template, colors, pencils, online video software
Special Note – Customize the snapshot according to grade
2. Emotions check-in
This activity is great for remote learning classrooms as it allows you to measure your students’ emotions without making them feel overwhelmed. You can develop a creatively designed survey sheet that ask your students about how they are feeling about the first day of school.
Tools Needed – Editing software, template, interactive tool
Special Note – Add emojis or cute animals for younger children
3. Virtual sing-alongs
One of the best ways to make your students feel joyful and enthusiastic is to conduct virtual sing-alongs. You can also have your students print and cut out fun props, such as microphones, hats, masks, animal cards, etc.
Tools Needed – Templates, high quality microphone, virtual meeting software
Special Note – Going with familiar songs will be ideal
4. Virtual icebreakers
You can create virtual icebreaker questions, asking your students to name their favorite animals, their deserted island books, or their favorite activities. The answers to these questions can be shared with everyone in class giving each student a chance to get to know something about each other.
Tools Needed – Ice-breaker questions, online Q&A tool, presentation tool
Special Note – Encouraging students to build friendships over common interests can be helpful.
5. Online scavenger hunt
You can create a digital scavenger hunt based on what your students have learned over the past year. These questions can also help reflect how much information has been retained by your students.
Tools Needed – Rules sheet, outlines, rewards
Special Note – Focusing on math or science-related prompts will be key.
These 5 take-home activities will be great for your classroom!
Take-home first day of school activities can also help students become excited about school and what they can expect for the rest of the year. You can also customize take-home activities with a smaller class and add stickers to make them unique and special.
1. Classroom Decor ideas
You can have your students decide how to decorate the physical classroom space by giving them take-home templates. They can choose the seating arrangements, the decorations, the daily affirmations/notes, and the placement of toys & books.
Tools Needed – Empty classroom template, stickers, rewards
Special Note – Giving students the exact categories of decoration will help
2. Word puzzles
Puzzles are a great way to help students improve their confidence across subject areas. You can make amazing puzzles that reflect what students may have learned over the last year, as a fun home first day of school activity.
Tools Needed – Puzzles template
Special Note – Giving them crayons and pencils will make it more engaging
3. Math worksheets
Math worksheets are great tools to help you analyze knowledge retention as well as understand how your class is performing against standardized measures. It’s one of the more comprehensive take home first day of school math activities that provides a fun challenge to students across grades.
You can download a free math worksheet from thousands of options here on our platform
Tools Needed – Access to worksheet template
Special Note – You can use different worksheets for different objectives
4. What are your hopes & dreams?
An interesting first day of school activity is to ask your students what their hopes & dreams are. They can carry the template sheet home and fill out what they hope to achieve during the year, what their dreams are, and where their interests reside.
Tools Needed – Printable sheet, pencils
Special Note – Adding prompts or examples will provide more clarity.
5. Awesome STEM activity
A great way to get the ball rolling on the first day is to engage them in a STEM activity. You can give them seed kits, cardboard car cutouts, parachute and egg-basket kits, and other fun science-based projects.
Tools Needed – STEM activity kit, instructions, access to tools
Special Note – The simpler the experiment the better the results
Get Started With The Preperations!
These are the best first day of school activities for students that you can use to make the day that much more memorable. You can use these activities and games to keep their spirits up, and help shyer children come out of their shell.
These games are also versatile, with some of them being given as homework for kids to work upon. You can use them in conjunction and come up with your own unique games that can excite children for the first day of school.
Frequently Asked Questions
What areas should i emphasize on the first day of school.
You should start the school year on a bright and positive note. You can introduce fun activities, games, and online learning sites to help kids ease into the lesson plan for the week. You can also focus on ensuring active participation with group activities and sing-alongs.
How should I schedule the first day of school?
You can start slower in the first half of the day with some introductions, games, and group activities. You can schedule multiple breaks and leisure time to keep them engaged. You can then introduce concepts and subjects by covering them on the surface level and recommending books that can help them get acquainted.
How do you make the first day of school interesting?
There are several things you can do to make the first day of class enjoyable.
- Having activities planned around the first day.
- Focus on introductions and social playtime.
- Mention the objectives for the year.
- Prepare schedules for your students to follow.
How do you engage students on the first day of school?
You can make the first day more memorable and engaging by using multisensory strategies, such as music, reading, and kinesthetic experiences.
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19 First Day of School Activities + Printables for Teachers!
Planning those first day of school activities can really set the tone for the rest of the year. The goal of these activities is for you to connect with your students and build those all-important relationships! The best way to do this is plan some fun activities that help you all get to know each other, the school, routines, and have your students buzzing about coming back the next day! So, when your students leave saying they “can’t wait to come back tomorrow,” you know the activities have worked!
First Day of School Activities for Teachers
Here are some first-day-of-school printables and first-day-of-school activities that are easy to plan and execute but also make for a memorable return to the classroom.
How to Greet Students on the First Day of School
Classroom morning greetings are so important when it comes to setting the tone for the day, and greeting students on the first day of school with the start to your morning routines is a must. Set up signs with various morning greetings that your kiddos can choose from for a fun experience every morning. From elbow bumps to air high fives, everything can be non-contact too just in case!
Non-contact morning greetings posters.
Non-contact greetings that students can do with their teachers and peers.
Morning Greetings Display
Greet each student at the door in style with this set of 4 greetings posters.
Groovy Greetings Song
A non-contact greeting song to use at the beginning of the day.
Write a Meet the Teacher Letter
Take the time to write a simple Meet the Teacher Letter to introduce yourself to your students — and their parents — on the first day of school.
While it would be wonderful to write a handwritten letter for each of your students, this is probably not the most time-efficient way to communicate with your class. Instead, download a time-saving Meet The Teacher Letter printable template (it’s editable). Set yourself up for the first day of school by following these simple steps:
- Customize the content of your letter and add a photo.
- Print off multiple copies (1 for every student).
- Seal the letters in individual envelopes for each student.
- Place the letters on student desks on the first day of school.
Make sure you remind your students to take the letter home in their folders for their adults at home! Alternatively, print one large copy and display it on a classroom notice board or on the classroom door.
Take a First Day Selfie
For a quick and easy way to connect with your students on the first day of school, take a selfie with your new class. Your new students will love to know that you don’t take yourself too seriously and that you too can take selfies!
- Take a fun selfie of yourself with your new class behind you.
- Print off an enlarged copy or work with a digital image.
- Choose from our Editable Page Borders Teaching Resources and give your photo a border.
- Display on your classroom door so the rest of the school can see!
Create a First Day of School Time Capsule
Sure it’s the first day of school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think about the end of the school year already! Plan ahead by creating time capsules with your kiddos that can be opened on the last day of school to show how much growth your students have achieved. Bonus: These make a great end-of-school year gift to take home to their parents/guardians.
Print a Time Capsule Template for students to fill out, and stow them away in small plastic or glass jars (baby food jars work well!) to open at the end of the year.
Plan a Scavenger Hunt Around the School
You may need to do a tour of the school, especially if you have new students in your classroom. This can be done as a whole class by using the QR Code School to Library Scavenger Hunt .
This is a fun activity that allows new students to see their new school and for older students to reacquaint themselves with the school grounds and where their new classroom is located.
In this scavenger hunt, they will end up in the library, so why not organize to have a back-to-school story picked out to read to them while they are there?
Read a First Day of School Book
Speaking of back-to-school stories, reading a book is a great way to set expectations for the school year to come.
Not sure which one to pick? We’ve got 7 recommended by teachers just like you!
Open Classroom Job Applications
From line leader to technology monitor, there is a lot of responsibility your kiddos can take on in your classroom to empower them and help them learn about being part of a community. Start it all off with the job application process — print and post an application template so your students get a choice of their classroom job and have buy-in on the process.
Procedures, Routines, and Expectations
Establishing these has to be done. But don’t sit your students down and speak for hours on end about this. Incorporate it throughout the day. For example, before they go out for lunch, explain the packing up routine and lunch procedure. There is no point bombarding them with all of this in the first hour of the day!
For me, practicing how to get your students’ attention in the classroom and developing whole class rules are musts on the first day! Make it an enjoyable positive experience for them. These cute attention-grabbing cards are printable, and they’re a fun way to get your students’ attention easily! Kids love them too, which is a bonus!
Choose an Active Game
Adjusting to the constraints of the classroom setting can be a challenge after a long vacation. Make the first day of school easier on them — and you — break up the first day with a brain break (or two!).
Chicken Evolution Active Game
A whole class active game that encourages cognitive processing skills, physical activity, and social skills.
Fruit Salad Active Game
A whole class or large group active game that encourages listening skills.
Shazzam! Active Game
A whole class active game that encourages teamwork.
Pick an ‘All About Me Activity’
Perhaps this is a bit predictable, but All About Me Activities deserve a mention. These activities give your students a voice and an opportunity to share information about the things that they love, their interests, and information about their families. Here are a couple of smart picks for younger students that double up as awesome classroom displays for meet the teacher night:
All About Me Number Accordion
The All About Me Numbers Accordion is perfect for younger students as it encourages students to introduce themselves while thinking about numbers. It can be used as a formative assessment to reveal your students’ ability to write their own names and numbers 0-10.
Use this template to create an accordion by following these simple steps:
- Read aloud each incomplete sentence. Explain how to complete each sentence.
- Ask your students to shade the face of the template to look like themselves.
- Cut along the dotted line.
- Fold along the bold lines to create an accordion.
- Display in the classroom by hanging with pegs along a length of a string.
All About Me Pennant
Direct each student to create an All About Me Pennant . Make your first homework assignment fun and easy by asking your students to bring a small photograph of themselves from home.
All About Me Lantern
Use this All About Me Lantern template as a fun ‘getting to know you’ display that helps students identify common interests among their peers. It is a great first week of school activity.
Hang the lanterns around the classroom or place them on students’ desks.
Visual Story of Me
In this A Visual Story of ME Timeline Project , students apply their knowledge of timelines while sharing and celebrating their own life journeys!
You might like to have students include an object that is important to their personal timeline that they can bring in to present with their peers.
A Visual Story of ME! - Timeline Project
Apply knowledge of timelines while students share and celebrate their own life journey.
A 3-D lantern template to use with students at the beginning of the year.
All About Me Pennant Banner
Use this pennant flag template as an activity at the beginning of the year.
Do a Class Name Word Search
Word searches are always fun for kids — and they don’t realize they’re learning. In this case, use our Create Your Own Wordsearch Widget to create a word search of your students’ names so your kiddos can start learning each other’s names!
It’s an independent desk activity that requires minimal teacher instruction, and it will give you a chance to catch your breath on the busy first day of school.
Be smart and choose an activity that is easy for your students to complete independently and without much teacher instruction. With primary students in mind, we have created a Starting School Paper Fortune Teller . This fun template is ideal to use during the first week of school and encourages students to:
- learn how to spell their teacher’s name
- get their clothes ready the night before school
- pack their backpack the night before school
- learn the names of two people in their new class
- read to an adult at home
- introduce themselves to a classmate
- draw a map of their classroom
- show an adult how to hold their pencil.
See more first-day-of-school activities created by teachers just like you!
Banner image via shutterstock/esb professional.
- In the Classroom
- Behavior Management
- First Day of School Activities
- All About Me
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21 Awesome First Day of School Activities for Elementary
Make the first day of school a success using these fun first day of school activities for elementary students.
Incorporating first day of school activities for elementary students reduces jitters, encourages dialogue among classmates, sets the tone for a solid classroom management system, and helps students break the ice during introductions.
This is a very important step towards a great school year!
So pencil into your back to school lesson plans a few of these fun and memorable first day of school activities for elementary students.
Related: first day of school checklist for teachers
First Day of School Activities for Elementary Students
These fun first day of school activities work best with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
1. Assess the Day Using an Exit Ticket.
With the help of a “parking lot” exit slip, quickly determine what learners’ “took away” from a first day lesson.
Here’s how to do this…
On a post-it note, each child responds to a teacher-assigned exit ticket question or prompt .
After class, review the answers and take note of any interesting responses.
Use this idea also as one of virtual first day of school activities.
2. Break the Ice With Icebreakers.
A few favorites….
- Five Nouns – Students use five nouns (or verbs, adjectives) to describe themselves.
- Mystery Bag w/a Partner – After clues provided by the teacher, learners, in pairs, try to guess the object in the bag.
- Interview and Introduce – Students interview and then introduce a classmate.
- Make Up a Story – While sitting in a circle, start a story with an introduction such as “Once upon a time…”. Clockwise, the next student adds a few more words to the story. The third strings her words along with the previous ones, and the sequence continues as such until everyone has added a brief part to the story. No repetition of events allowed.
- The M & M Game – One of the best get-to-know-you games, this fun ice breaker eliminates those first-day awkward moments.
3. Create an All About Me Book.
One of the classic first day of school activities for elementary, the All-About-Me book provides students the opportunity to creatively share who they are.
4. Collect Artifacts for a Time Capsule.
A time capsule captures moments in time.
Instruct students to collect artifacts about themselves such as the following items:
- Current photo
- Recent writing sample
- Copy of grade level S.M.A.R.T goals
- Height (Students love to see how much they’ve grown in a year!)
They place these artifacts into a shoebox, putting the boxes away for the remainder of the year.
At the very end of the school year, students revisit these mementos, analyzing the before with the present.
See how to do time capsule activity .
5. Decorate Reader Response Journals.
Before officially launching reader’s workshops, provide students an opportunity to decorate the covers of their reader response journals and/or writer’s notebooks.
6. Distribute Morning Work Packet.
To lessen the chaos during the early morning, provide a morning work packet (along with a pencil) of grade-level appropriate worksheets that students can complete independently .
Doing so prevents them from asking you too many questions as you’re assisting new arrivals or chatting with parents.
Suggested worksheet ideas include basic math facts, simple fill-in-the-blank exercises, and crossword puzzles.
7. Estimate Grains of Rice.
Include this fun math exercise as one of your first day of school activities for elementary.
All that’s needed is a mason jar, measuring spoon, and rice.
On a sticky note, students write their guess as to how many scoops or spoonfuls of rice it will take to fill the jar.
Now fill the mason jar with rice using the measuring tool. Discuss the results as a class.
8. Explain Classroom Jobs.
Underscore the importance of teamwork by having each student apply for a classroom student job .
9. Explore the Classroom Library.
Take time during the first day of school to review with students the type of books in the classroom library, the procedure for checking out books, and how to choose a “just right” text.
10. Gauge What They Know Using a KWL Chart.
A K-W-L chart is a fantastic tool for assessing learners’ background knowledge in addition to gauging their enthusiasm about a topic.
Use a K-W-L graphic organizer to determine what elementary students already know and what they want to know about science/social studies in general.
This strategy is a gentle way to incorporate social studies and/or science on the first day without getting too in-depth just yet.
11. Help Students Draft S.M.A.R.T Goals.
This list of first day of school activities for elementary students would not be complete without a growth mindset activity.
With guidance from you, students write 2 to 3 S.M.A.R.T goals .
Consider mounting their goals on a back to school bulletin board or have them place a copy in a time capsule. (See earlier explanation about how to do time capsule activity.)
12. Incorporate a Foldables™ Activity.
Foldables ™ enliven teaching by transforming topics into hands-on projects.
As one of your first day of school activities for elementary, consider using Foldables to teach virtues such as kindness and respect.
13. Introduce Calendar Math.
Performed daily, Calendar Math consists of a wide array of math tasks.
Activities build upon each other, providing a “spiraling” type of review where a variety of learning objectives are consistently put into practice throughout the week.
Calendar Math favorites…
- Begin counting the days of school for the 100th day of school.
- Teach inches/feet using small paper clips. Show a paperclip, and emphasize that it’s roughly an inch. Each day, connect another paper clip, counting the inches along the way. Once you have 12 clips connected, explain that those 12 represent 1 foot. Use a foot cutout to help students visualize. Continue adding paper clips each school day, exchanging for feet and yards.
- Count money/practice decimals using the days of school. On day 1, show a penny cutout. Record what that looks like in decimal form. Each day, show an additional penny. After 5 days, exchange those 5 pennies for a nickel. At 10 days, the previous 5 pennies exchange for a nickel, and the 2 nickels become a dime. Continue as such throughout the school year (along with the written decimal form). For older students, make each day worth a quarter or half dollar.
14. Launch Writer’s Workshop With Writing Prompts.
If you’re looking for first day of school activities for elementary that involve writing, this one is it.
Launch writer’s workshop on day one or the first week back with these fun back to school writing prompts.
Students may share writing during author’s chair .
15. Make Interactive Graphs.
Encourage discussion using simple, interactive graphs.
Students love these type of first day of school activities for elementary because they’re absolute fun and a bit different from most back to school tasks.
Example 1: How Many Syllables Are in Your Name? graph
As a class, students decide into which column to place their names based on the number of syllables.
Afterwards, deepen the discussion with questions such as…
- Which names have ⅖ vowels?
- What percentage of the names have 2 syllables?
- What fraction of the names begin with a consonant?
Customize the questions according to the math curriculum.
Example 2: What Age Would You Like to Be? tally graph
On a chart, write “younger”, “older”, and “same” as the 3 options.
Students mark a tally next to their choice.
This is a simple activity that sparks discussion on the first day of school and helps teachers learn about students.
Following are a few other “get-to-know-you” fun graph ideas: (Create these graphs using an anchor chart or on the board.)
- Is your last name longer, shorter, or the same length as your first name?
- Are you left-handed or right-handed?
- Did you bring your lunch today or will you eat from the cafeteria?
- Are your earlobes hanging or attached?
- On what day of the week were you born? (Great for 1st day of school homework!)
- Do you have a younger brother or sister?
- How many times do you think a string equal to your height would wrap around your head? (Then actually do it to see!)
- What is your birthday month?
16. Organize School Supplies.
Putting away backpacks full of supplies is a big task all on its own. It takes time to label, strategically place, and store everything.
So weave this first day of school activity into your elementary students’ first day of school schedule.
Discuss expectations for storing materials in desks, cubbies, backpacks, etc.
17. Pair a Read Aloud Book with Rivet Game.
Rivet is one of the best first day of school activities for elementary students because it is a game-based activity that motivates students to actively participate.
See how to play Rivet .
18. Plan a School Scavenger Hunt.
In pairs, guide elementary students in learning about or revisiting important areas of the school using this fun first day of school scavenger hunt .
19. Review Rules and Procedures Interactively.
- Create an anchor chart about classroom/school rules and procedures.
- Share a read aloud that focuses on following directions .
- Review key routines and procedures .
- Refer to the C.H.A.M.P.S classroom management plan for guidance.
20. Share Back-to-School Read Aloud Books.
Your first day lesson plan isn’t complete without sharing a couple of first day of school books.
See 2nd grade first day books , 3rd day first day books , and 4th grade first day books .
21. Survey Your Learners Using Multiple Intelligences.
To plan lessons that teach to students’ different learning styles, have students take a multiple intelligence survey .
See multiple intelligence lesson ideas .
22. Take Headshots for Class Décor.
Snap headshots of each student on the first day of school. Place the photos on a bulletin board, and caption each with the respective names.
Throughout the year, showcase work samples underneath students’ pictures.
Now you have a collection of fun first day of school activities to try with your elementary students.
If you enjoyed this article about first day of school activities for elementary learners, you might be interested in … popular back-to-school ideas for teachers .
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First Day of School Activities for Elementary Students · 1. Assess the Day Using an Exit Ticket. · 2. Break the Ice With Icebreakers. · 3. Create an All About Me