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Back to School Activities

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As the beginning of the school year approaches we are always looking for new and exciting activities to introduce the students to their new teacher and also their classmates. Compiled here you will find some great ideas you might like to try with your class!
Posted by:SusanTeach #112486

There are so many ideas I do, but I can't say that I made them all up myself. I've altered some of them so I guess that's partially creating some. :) Here are some of my favorites (and the kids' favorites!):

1. Open House - "Treasure Hunt" - Give the kids a list of things to show their parents in the room (class pet, their desk, etc...). The last thing on there is for them to find the treasure chest and it has a goody bag for each child (a few small things in it - piece of candy, pencil, eraser, homework pass, etc...).

2. First Day - Read Chysanthemum. I've posted about this before, so I'll give a shortened version. As you're reading the book, when the mouse gets insulted make a tear in a paper doll. When she gets complimented, put tape over the...

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Back to school ideas
Posted by:Lynn #60321

Here are a few ideas I've used that my students loved...
1. Name Scrabble-we used giant graph paper and fit in each child's name a la Scrabble.
2. We talked about how each one of us is special. To illustrate, I cut apples in half crossways and showed the children the star inside. Then we ate the apples of course!
3. I read "Chrysanthemum" to the children, then passed around a paper girl with instructions to bend or crumple her in some way. We then tried to smooth her out. The children learned that we can say we're sorry for saying hurtful things but some of the hurt will still be there.

Hope these help?

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Some More Ideas
Posted by:5th teacher #58146

We play "Just like Me" I read a statement about myself, such as "My favorite color is green." Anyone else whose favorite color is green stands up and says, "Just like me." I also read the poem, "If I Were in Charge of the World" by Judith Viorst. Then we brainstorm a list of things we would do if we were in charge of the world, and students write their own poems. We always do an autograph scavenger hunt (Ex. find the tallest person and get them to sign your paper). Usally the first week of school I make index cards with different scenarios that would come up during the school year that have to do with rules or procedures I have been teaching, the students pair up and tell their partner what they would do in the case. For example, the card might say, "I...

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First Day Activities
Posted by:Melanie #60045

Here are some fun things to do the first day/week of school:
-Letter to previous teacher, have students write a letter to their teacher last year telling what happened over the summer, things remembered from last year, and what they are looking forward to this year
-Name Bingo (names of all students)
-Name Word search (you can make these on the internet)
-Our Favorite Things- scramble words of some of your favorite things and have the class unscramble them. This introduces yourself to the class. Then, have them scramble some of their favorite things and have a partner unscramble some of their things.

There's some really good websites that talk about back to school. Email me if you want them (I don't know if I can post them).

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1st day goodie bags
Posted by:donna #140699

On the first day of school I leave a goodie bag on each desk. I attach yellow star cutouts to white bags. On the cutouts I print "Second Grade Superstar".

Inside the bag are supplies and goodies to start the year. Most of it I can get from the supply closet (pencils, erasers, boxes of crayons). But I also buy special bookmarks that may say "Welcome to 2nd Grade" and special pencils "Spectacular Second Graders" and star shaped erasers. I also include a treat like a roll of Smarties.

I would love to see your webpage of ideas if you wouldn't mind posting that link. Thanks!

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First Couple of Weeks of School
Posted by:Becky #24510

Here are some things that I do the first couple of weeks as beginning of the school year activities:

***We make time capsules (a paper towel tube). We stuff is with a self-portrait, a writing sample and a writing prompt ("My favorite thing to do is....."). We attach a note that says "Do not open until June 22, 2002, or whatever the last day of school is. One the last day, they had so much fun looking at their handwriting from the first week of school.
***I used a large piece of oaktag to make a blank puzzle. The amount of puzzle pieces should be equal to how many kids there are in your class plus yourself. Give each child a piece and have them write their name on it and draw a few things that represent them. Once this is done, get together in a circle and put the puzzle back...

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First Day/Week
Posted by:MBK/4th #24081

I really liked reading about the suggestions from the previous poster! I have done similar activities! On the first week of school I distribute their first project assignment. It is called "Me Boxes". Here are the directions for completing this assignment:

Your assignment is to create a cereal box all about you. Your box will be decorated with words, pictures, and objects that tell all about you. You should first decorate your cereal box with paper (such as construction paper, newspaper, wrapping paper, or copy paper). Your box must include all of the following:

1. Personal Information
Your first and last name in big letters
Your birthday
A picture of yourself (drawn or real)

2. Personal Favorites
Include words, drawings, or pictures neatly cut from a magazine that show at least four of...

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first days of school
Posted by:Katy #58728

A 5th grade teacher at my school does an activity that I think is great and could be possible for 2nd. She makes silhouettes of students heads, they cut them out and then cut out pictures and words from magazines to fill them in with and the pictures and words represent who they think they are. She then mounts them and keeps them as a border around the room (up high)so they can reflect on them at the end of the year. You could also have them use mirrors and people color markers to make self-portraits, frame them and have them write goals around the frame. At back to school night, I've had parents at the end try to guess which self-portrait they think their child made and then they need to make their own self-portrait and the children try to guess the next day. This reminds...

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schedule for first weeks
Posted by:Cathy-Dee #11111

This year our first day will be a 1/2 day which will be so nice.

Usually my schedule for the first few weeks is something like this.

First day - students arrive - I have nursery rhyme colouring, cut and paste sheets on their desks - I have them colour only. While they are doing this I and hopefully a few parents get all their materials sorted out. I put all the extra materials into ziplock bags which will be on each students desk. I also have a note on the overhead telling parents what to put into the desks and what to put into the bags.
This takes about 30 minutes - and also allows me to greet any new students - I always have 2-3 empty desks in my room for the first week just in case.

Then we settle into some of our morning routines and I thank...

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Kissing Hand
Posted by:Megan #81185

Read the Kissing Hand and do some activities surrounding it. There are lots of good sites on this book (refer to previous have to go to the previous page of posts). I had the students paint their handprints on a special poem I had typed up for their parents...they loved this! It was about how they will go to school and they were scared but will be ok and bring lots of projects home, and grow throughout the year. You could play getting to know you games, the Building Blocks books have great a predictable chart..."My name is..." etc. Hope this helps!!! : ) Searching the internet for "back to school activities" helped me as well!!! : )

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Book for 1st day
Posted by:Angi #77471

I always read "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes. It can be for younger kids, but you can do many activities with the book. After reading, we make a graph of the amount of letters in each of our names. Also, we pick a different name and wear name tags with our "new names". I give them a baby name book to look up the meaning of their names. Look at for other ideas. Another book I read (if not the 1st day, but another day) is "I Don't Want to Go Back to School" by Marisabina Russo. I make a writing frame for them to tell why they didn't want to come back to school themselves.

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First Day
Posted by:Carrie #78428

Congrats! Second Grade is awesome to teach!!!
Usually on the first day, I let the students pick their own desk to start off, then we have introductions, put supplies away, draw a self portriat, create a rule book, then each child was asked to bring in a special item to share with the class and they share the items and I take their picture for our check-in magnets, and in the afternoon we eat watermelon and work on some activities. I take it really easy and ease the kids back into school!

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first days
Posted by:Rebecca #47733

Yes, the first few days we just get to know each other and the class/school rules. I share several books with my third graders.....
Teacher From The Black Lagoon
Miss Nelson Is Missing
Miss Nelson Is Back
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

I do a lot of getting to know you activities. I bring in a brown lunch sack with a few personal things (my favorite book, picture of my family, something I collect, a craft, or whatever). I share theis with them and then assign homework. They get a brown lunch bag as well. They are suppose to bring 5 items(and only 5) from home that would tell about themselves. The items MUST fit in the bag (this is my rule---or you will have all kinds of things come in). Then they take turns sharing theirs on the second day....

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a busy first week
Posted by:BeaJay #40185

Each year I make a Welcome to Third grade folder that has all my rules, schedules, and other pertinent school information. We read this every day and learn the rules, demonstrate the rules, practice the rules. (Harry Wong is my hero!) You can give Power Point presentations on the rules (cute template at Microsoft site). I also give daily quizzes on the rules. I use sentence strips with out schedule on it and we put them in the correct order in a pocket chart. I read Judy Moody was in a Mood, not a good Mood by Megan McDonald. Judy is a third grader who does not want to get up and start back to school after summer vacation. In the story she has to make a "Me" project, we make a "Me" project. She also has a pet Venus Flytrap, we get a pet Venus Flytrap. The...

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back to school ideas
Posted by:Cathy-Dee #59800

One idea might be for them to do a survey of sorts.

A fun style is for them to have a form where they need to get one name beside each category.

1) Find someone who likes to eat strawberries.

2) Find someone who has a birthday in the same month as yours.

3) Find someone who has 2 brothers.

And so on. You want to make most of the questions ones they can find someone to match, but a few can be more difficult. This gets them talking to and learning about one another and you get to see which ones can read easily, which ones struggle with writing, who seems to be shy and withdrawn, who is out-going and so on.

I also have a web page of links for back to school ideas. Just send me and email if you'd like the address.

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venn diagram
Posted by:bamateach #112502

One thing that I did last year that was soo fun for the kids was friend venn diagrams. They were paired with a new friend (someone they did not know before). The students drew a venn diagram on 12x18 construction paper and titled it with their names in the circles and then both in the center. They filled in the venn diagram with things that made them different and with things that they had in common. It was great. All during the activity they would run up to me and say Mrs. R did you know that we had this much in common? or We both like such and such! It was so fun. I then took a pic of the new pals and put it on a bulletin board titled Making Friends in 2nd Grade. (took the idea from Mailbox '05)

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First Day/Full Day
Posted by:Brenda #57284

I have always started school with a full day. I taught 4th grade for 15 years. I always spent most of the morning going over rules, procedures, assigning lockers, books, etc. I also took the opportunity to complete a few "get to know each other" activities like "people searches" (find someone who went to camp this summer, find someone who went to the library this summer, etc....). I also read a few picture books that introduced the school year (The Teacher from the Black Lagoon). It was a good opportunity to start the 1st spelling unit, begin a required bus safety unit, and complete some math games for review of last year's skills. I also usually gave a small homework assignment (usuallly spelling words). You'll be surprised how quickly your 1st day will go. I usually never got to everything I planned. All the forms that needed to be returned by the...

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First Days
Posted by:KcK #114960

Two and half days or two half days? We start with two half days then come back the next week for full days. In those two days I:

*go over rules and consequences - I take pictures of the kids following the rules and fufilling the consequences (they love to role play breaking the rule) and then have them make the posters and add the pics.
*Getting to Know You Glyph necklace- this actually takes a bit
*Nametags- I make nameplates for our hallway board- I write their name in cursive on a sentence strip and then go over it with black marker. The kids use crayons to color pretty hard (for bright colors) all over the strip in whatever pattern they want. Then we go over their name with puffy paint. They make really cool nameplates to display their work in the hall.

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