As the new school year begins, so begins the work of building a classroom community and getting to know our students. There are endless games and activities out there to help students get to know us and each other, but educators sometimes recycle the same things year after year. Check out the ideas below to spice things up this school year.
Roll out the year with the Toilet Paper Game
As students enter your room, greet them at the door with a roll of toilet paper. After saying hello, tell them to take as much as they think they need for the game. They’ll look perplexed, but simply repeat the directions. Some students will take one square, and some will take 10 – either way is OK! Once everyone has entered, explain that for every square they tore off they get to share a fact about themselves. This will immediately break the ice, and they will all burst out in laughter. You’ll also learn a lot about your new class!
Slide in introductions with PowerPoint
Most of us have the opportunity to meet our students and their parents before school starts. For this activity, you will need to collect emails before school begins or from student’s registration files. Send an email before the first day of school with a PowerPoint slide template. Students will fill it in with the information you want to know, such as their favorite subjects and hobbies, along with pictures of themselves. They will then send it to you before the first day.
On the first day of school, you can have these slides looping for students to see or you can have students introduce themselves using their slide. It gives everyone a great visual and serves as “notes” for the student presenting, which helps a lot with shy students.
Anchor friendships early with Anchor Chart Surveys
Create different anchor charts with questions such as:
- What is your favorite sport?
- What is your favorite subject?
- What is your favorite food?
Split the anchor chart into four sections and write a different answer in each box. For example, if you asked, “What is your favorite sport?” one box might read basketball, another might read soccer, another might read football and another might read baseball.
Give students Post-it notes. Tell them to write their names on them and stick their names in the box that applies to them. Once they have done this with all of the questions, they can see other students with similar interests to them. This is a great way to break the ice!
Another tip is to facilitate an activity where students can create something that you can hang up. It will make the students feel like they are a part of your classroom. A carefully curated classroom doesn’t beat the art of students’ work.
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