Day 1 Activities: Set the stage

The first day of school is one of the most exciting days of the year. It is a new beginning, a clean slate, new dreams….anything is possible. I hope the first day makes students sit up, take notice and feel excited to be back.

This year, I am not starting with outlines, spiel or forms to fill out. That all can wait…

Here is the plan….and you know what is most fabulous about this plan? The main ideas are ones I have picked up on Twitter from other teachers who maintain professional blogs and share their practice. That my friends is a beautiful thing!

1. Invitation to Learning – on desk as students come in.

Materials: Invitations purchased at dollar store.

I am a big fan of tangible items that students hold in their hands and take home. I realize this might not be everyone’s style, but it is authentically my style.


2. Monk Whiteboarding 

Materials: Whiteboards, whiteboard pens.

Students work in pairs to introduce themselves. Using whiteboards  (more on whiteboarding) partners draw images only (no words or numbers) to introduce themselves to their partner. Both partners draw at the same time on the same whiteboard, they can divide up board in any way they wish, just no talking or gesturing. When finished, they introduce each other to the class.

Source: Kelly O’Shea – Monk Whiteboarding


3. Puzzle Solve 

Materials: Eight 24-piece puzzles ($1.25 at dollar store), scarves (Value Village).

I saw this activity last year was waiting to use it this fall.

In groups of three, students will assemble a puzzle, but with a twist.  Each group will have a director, a blindfolded puzzle assembler, and an enforcer (who will monitor another group to ensure that they play by the rules). Director and assembler will sit across from one another and with verbal cues only, the director will direct the assembly of the puzzle.

After successful assembly of the puzzle, team members will de-brief what worked well and what was challenging. I hope this activity serves as a metaphor for our class community and signals to students that this class “will be different” (Sam Evans said this in his post and it resonated with me).

Source: Sam Evans  – Blindfolds and Puzzles

4. Building a Class PED Policy Together.

Last September I invited PED’s (personal electronic devices) into class. To this end we created a classroom PED policy together, we all signed it and then posted it on the  classroom door. This process worked really well and students themselves would refer back to it, or give gentle reminders to one another.

My post of this activity here if you want to know more details.

What are your favourite back to school activities?

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