Like other "first days" in your life, your first day as a teacher in your own classroom will have you feeling excited and anxious in equal measures. Don't worry too much, though; even experienced teachers feel anxious about facing new students at the beginning of each school year. Just take a deep breath, look around your newly decorated classroom, double-check those lessons plans, and remind yourself of all you've done to get the year off to a successful start. These September start up tips will help you make a positive first impression.
Overall, you'll make a good impression if your first-day activities involve all your students in ways that allow them to be successful and for you to be seen as a caring, organised leader who is focused on creating a stimulating and cooperative environment.
Use a large piece of board to create a jigsaw puzzle that has as many pieces as she has students, plus one piece for you. Number each puzzle piece on the back, cuts them out, and distribute them to students on the first day of school. They could decorate their pieces with their names, pictures, and words. After sharing these as a group, reassemble the puzzle on a bulletin board to symbolize the importance of each individual's contribution to the class as a whole.
On the first day, gather the children in a circle. Go around the circle and have each child pick a word to go with his or her name (either rhyming or beginning with the same letter as the name). Each child must say his or her name and repeat the names that came before ("I am Marshmallow Megan and that was Willowy Wendy and Soccer Sally and Jumping Jimmy..."). It's a fun way for young children to get to know one another and learn everybody's name.
Write your students a letter in which you introduce yourself and describe some of the exciting activities your class will be doing during the school year. Also give them a paper bag and ask each student to fill it with four or five items that are of some significance, perhaps a photo, an item from a collection, a souvenir from a trip, or a sports memento. In the first week of school, all sit together and open up the bags to show each other something about yourselves.
On the first day, have students write three unique facts about themselves, such as a pet's name, favourite sport, talent, and so on. Collect the papers and read a description aloud to the class. The students then guess to whom you’re referring. Continue until all the descriptions have been read, including your own.
Ask the children to tell the two wildest facts about themselves and one wild, but untrue fact. It is up to the class to guess which fact is untrue. For example, I water-ski frequently. I used to have pink hair. I love the Jonas Brothers. It's then up to the rest of the class to choose which "fact" is really fiction!
Students are to pair up in groups of two and each group receives a sheet with pictures of a haunted house, music shop, school, supermarket, etc. There is also a circle by each picture. All around the classroom are the same pictures larger with an envelope located beneath. Inside the envelope are strips of paper with a problem on it. The groups have to take a strip and solve it before the other groups. When they solve it, they must come and check to see if it is correct. If it's correct, place a sticker in the circle by the picture that they solved. The first group to receive all 6 stickers win. They receive a certificate for becoming detectives! It's a good way to get to know each other in the process and become familiar with the new classroom.
Scavenger Hunt the Class and Classroom. Pairs of children are given a list of questions about their class and classroom to answer. First most accurate sheet wins. Some examples are: How many children are in this class? How many girls/boys are there? How many dictionaries are in the room? Where are the games kept? Where can you find a sharp pencil? This activity helps the children get to know each other and their new classroom.
Each child completes their own ‘All About Me Poster’ including their favourite colour, book, television programme, sport, animal, school subject, etc. One the children have each completed it, they fold it up and seal it and it goes in a box labelled Time Capsule. In May, the children compete the same form and then they open the one from September and compare their answers. To their surprise many things have changed over the course of eight months. They even notice a difference in their handwriting.
In the centre of a board put a large scoop of ice cream on top of a sugar cone which is easily made from construction paper !The title of the interactive board is "The Scoop on My Summer." Place photos from your holidays, summer hobbies, summer discoveries and such on the large centre ice cream cone with labels describing the summer activities. Then involve students on the first days of school by having them complete a smaller version of the cone that has 3-4 scoops of ice cream on their individual paper cut cones for them to list what they did over summer holidays. This enables students to get to know you as a real person and helps the students learn about one another as an introductory activity.
Everyone sits in a circle and start with a ball of yarn. Say your name and an interesting fact and then throw the yarn to a friend. When the friend catches the yarn, he/she states his/her name and fact then throws it to another friend. It is a great way for everyone to get to know each other. Tell all the children we are building a friendship class web where we are always here to help each other.
One more thing to keep in mind: Getting-acquainted activities aren't just for the first day of school. Experienced teachers recommend sprinkling these types of icebreaker and welcome back activities throughout the first week of school. They know it's the quickest route to building a strong class community.