Are You Ready For The First Days Of School?

First Day School Activities

Are you ready to go back to school? I don’t know about you, but summer lasted about 82 seconds for me. What happened?! Well, I can tell you what happened for me:

  • I focused on writing my master’s thesis and conferring with my professor as part of the research process, which including learning the Institutional Review Board research application process.
  • I started a new job! I’ll be teaching 7th grade English Language Arts and Literacy in the Oklahoma City metro area. I’m super excited to be working in both subject-area and cross curricular teams. So far, the support provided by the district has been phenomenal and school hasn’t even started.
  • I am planning to graduate with my master’s degree in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with a concentration in English Education from the University of Oklahoma in December. This means I need to finish and defend my thesis by mid-November.
  • Speaking of November… a colleague and I submitted a proposal to the National Council of Teachers of English and it was accepted! I’ll write more about this later.

Finally, here is the reason I’m writing: I have been rethinking the activities that I use with my students at the beginning of the school year. I like some of the icebreakers that Jennifer Gonzales shares at Cult of Pedagogy, but I’m planning to save those for the second or third days.

I also know that it’s important to build a positive relationship with my classes right from the very beginning and also start assessing their skills and learning about who they are. So I’ve developed a free resource you can sign up for that includes the activities I’ve developed over the years to to help facilitate this process. Not only are these activities classroom-tested, but they are also introverted student/teacher approved! No embarrassing activities or conversations for people who don’t like large-group discussions.

Before They Walk In

This activity helps me get to know students (and just as importantly, their names/pronunciations) before they walk in the door. As an introvert who gets to know people better one-on-one or in small groups, this helps me connect with students right from the first moment.

Picture of me holding my sample name card

Name Cards

I can remember faces easily, but I’m terrible with names. I’ll remember my extroverted kids by day two, but will struggle remembering the names of the  shy ones who never say anything for months. So this name card activity helps me put a visual name with a face — along with some details that will help me get to know the student.

Preview of virtual locker slide

Virtual Lockers

You may remember this from last when teachers were designing Bitmoji inspired virtual activities like crazy. I thought this one was worth mentioning again since it will give you a change to both learn about your students interests and also their comfort level with using Google Apps for Education.

Sound like activities you can use in your classroom? Just register for access to these activities and more!

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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