We all remember what it was like for us on that first day of school. As we walked into our new classroom, we sized up our new (and sometimes familiar) classmates and surroundings- and met our new teachers.
Savvy teachers know that back to school nerves can be soothed with an fun engaging activities designed to allow students to get to know one another. These classroom games can help set the tone for a great new school year!
Here are some ideas we found and want to share:
From National Education Association
Ten Creative, Teacher-Tested Ideas for Starting the New School Year by Gary Hopkins, Education World®
Recipe Card Mix-Up
-Arlene Stoebner, Yankton School District, Yankton South Dakota
Provide each student with a recipe or index card. Ahead of time choose about five questions that you might ask of students. Be as creative as you want with the questions. Possible questions might include the following:
What is the title of a favorite book?
What do you like doing in your free time when you’re not at school?
What is your favorite board game?
What is your favorite candy bar?
If you could request your favorite meal for your birthday, what would that meal be?
When students — and the teacher — have written their answers to the questions, collect the recipe cards. Shuffle the cards. Then pass out a card to each student; be sure students do not receive their own cards. When everyone has a card, then the job of each student is to find the student in the room who belongs to the card the student holds. When everybody has found the person who wrote the answers on the card they hold, they must make sure they know how to pronounce that student’s full name and that they understand everything that is written on the card. Then it is time for introductions. The teacher can begin the activity by asking the student on the card s/he holds to come to the front of the room. As that student stands by, the teacher introduces the student to the rest of the class by saying, “Class, I’d like you to meet ___. Her favorite book is ___. Her favorite board game is. Please welcome ___ to our fourth grade class!” (Classmates then give the student 4 claps [for 4th grade]).
The student that the teacher introduced continues the activity by calling up the student whose card he or she holds. Continue until all students have introduced someone to the class. When everyone has been introduced, take all the cards, shuffle them, and call out responses on one card at a time to see if students can remember who belongs to each card.
From The Ice Breaker: Warming up the Classroom Climate By Melissa Kelly, About.com Guide
Find Your Kind
This activity requires a handout containing questions and places for signatures. You are welcome to use mine.
Students answer the questions in ink to reduce answer changing later. When everyone is finished, students find others who have the same answers on any question and get their signatures under the answers they had in common.
Variation for mature students: One student stands up and says only his name. Other students introduce him by telling what they have learned about about him by checking for his name on their handout. (Use this with caution.)
New Friend Scavenger Hunt
This activity allows students to learn cool things about each other. Students find individuals who fit descriptions listed on the worksheet. The individual who gets the most matches wins!
Students will know you are full of fun with this one.
The teacher welcomes students at the door while holding a roll of toilet paper. They instruct students to take as many sheets as they need refusing to explain the purpose. Once class begins, students are instructed to write one interesting thing about themselves on each sheet. When students are finished, they introduce themselves by reading their TP.
Variation: Students write one thing they hope or expect to learn in the course this year on each sheet.
Name Game From TeacherVision.com
- Students will improve their listening skills.
- Students will build classroom community.
- Students will learn each other’s names.
- Soft foam ball
- Everyone sits in a circle, including you.
- Explain that you are going to practice each other’s names. Therefore it’s very important that they listen and make eye contact with people who are speaking.
- You go first; say your name and then hand the ball off, rotating the ball clockwise around the circle. The next student says your name, his name, and then hands off the ball to the next student. That student says your name, the previous student’s name, and then his name. Proceed in this pattern around the circle. Allow the students to help each other remember the names.
- Now, sitting in the same circle, roll the ball to a student. She should say your name and then her name. She should then roll the ball towards another student, saying that student’s name. Continue this until everyone has been named.
- Have the students stand up and scramble the circle. Try remembering everyone’s name with one of the above procedures.
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