6 Activities to Try on the First Day of School to Get to Know New Students

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The first day of school is a start to a new adventure, the fostering of a new school family, and yet sometimes it’s a tense moment for your students. Ease tension and first-day jitters with fun ice breaker activities on the first day. These will be your student’s first impressions, and lasting memories this year, and you can make it count. Find out more about how we make a lasting impression on our students in the podcast Teach For America: Wendy Kopp.

1.    Would you Rather?

Would you rather? is a great icebreaker that will ease the tension among new classmates. Spark discussion and giggles with silly would you rather questions that make students pick a side and defend it by asking why. “Would you rather eat ice cream or pie?” or “Would you rather have no homework or no recess?” “Would you rather play inside or outside?” This is a great way for you to learn about your new students too and find out more about their interests and motivations.

2.    Find Someone Who

This game is a great way for students to get to know each other and become fast friends. Students roam the room with a prepared worksheet with various topics and have a classmate sign under a box that describes them. You can be creative and include food, sports, and activities. Find someone who can make a paper airplane or find someone who plays basketball.

3.    Inner and Outer Circles

Get to know your students with open-ended questions that prompt students to share personal experiences. Have each student stand in the middle and pose a question like “Who plays sports?” or “Who went swimming this summer?” any student who answers yes moves to the middle, while the other students stay still. Ask two to three students to share a story connected to the question. Once students have shared everyone goes back to the outer circle.

4.    Time Capsules

Start the year off with goal setting to encourage students to set the tone for a great school year. Give each student a tri-fold sheet of paper, separated into three columns. In column one, students share things they wish to do this year. Column two is things I am good at, and column three should be labeled things I want to get better at.

This motivating and fun activity will spark student’s inspiration to set personal goals and they will love reading them at the end of the year and reflecting on what they have achieved. Find more great activities from Scholastic.

5.    I wish my teacher knew

This touching activity creates a personal connection with students from day one. Share index cards with each student that tells one thing “You wish your students knew about you” and give them a blank index card to respond back with “one thing my teacher knew.” Think simple like favorite color or animal, or more thoughtful like a fear or a feeling.

6.    All About Me

The possibilities of All about Me templates are endless. This cute activity gives students the chance to share their favorite things and interests to connect with their classmates and you as their new teacher. Plus, they make perfect crafts for your bulletin board. Find more great activities from For the Love of Teachers.