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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Favorite First Week of School Activities

A new school year is coming up and I thought I would share some of my favorite activities that I do in my classroom during the first week back.

This is a great way for my students to get to know their classmates better in a relaxed atmosphere.  I partner them up (or make small groups) and together they rotate around the room to each of the task cards I have hanging up.  On each card there is a question or discussion prompt.  One person reads the card and then each person in the partnership/group gives their answer.  I love hearing the discussions that happen as the kids move around to each card!

I love this challenge, and the kids LOVE this challenge!  C
lick on the photo to go to the website where there is a TED talk about this challenge and some further directions.
I give very basic directions for this activity, basically the three things you see on the graphic
1.  18 minutes
2.  teams of four
3.  tallest freestanding structure

This is a great problem solving and teamwork activity and it is so interesting to watch how students work together and who steps up as a positive leader.

Another favorite of my students!  This is a great activity to introduce/review the steps of the scientific method at the beginning of the year.  It is fun, hands on, and academic!  Kids make a hypothesis about what will happen to a candy work when it sits in water for 24 hours.  

I was really intrigued to hear some of the things my students thought would happen:  nothing, it will shrink, it will lose all the color, it will dissolve, it will become harder, it will fall apart...
There is a little experiment guide where the students can fill out information for each of the steps of the scientific method as they go through this experiment.  I love that this incorporates measurement, writing, making detailed lists, following directions, observation, and following a plan.  But, it is so fun the kids don't even realize how much work they are actually doing!

Name Art
Before school starts I use bulletin board paper to make a name sign for each student.  I printed out each letter of the alphabet (2 letters per page) and then used that to trace over for each students name sign.  The kids get to color these in however they want, patterns, illustrations, crayons, markers- be creative!  This is a great activity for when kids need a little down time that first week back and any students who don't finish can continue to work on it throughout the week when they finish other things early.
I hang these up around the top of my classroom and they are a great all year decoration that personalizes our space!

Do you have any great "first week" activities that have worked well for you, and that your students LOVE?  Leave me a comment- I would love to hear all about them!

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