Whether it’s your first time teaching, or you’re a veteran educator, the first week back at school can be a difficult one. There’s all that admin, a new mix of students in your classes, and new colleagues to get to know. These back-to-school activities should make your – and your students’- first week back a bit easier.
Fun back-to-school activities
Decorate the classroom together
By inviting your students to help decorate the classroom, you convey a sense of inclusivity and collaboration with your students; their voices are heard and their presence is welcomed. Split the class into groups and assign each group a section of the classroom. Have materials available such as tape, scissors, posters, charts, stickers, and the like. You can also ask the class to summarise a goal they wish to achieve in your class in one word and put them up on the walls as well.
Have an “I Can’t” funeral
Teachers often hear the phrase “I can’t”. When children believe they can’t do something, they can feel defeated or useless. Have each student write out what they think they can’t do on strips of paper. Then collect all the strips and after a dramatic eulogy, throw the papers away (or find a spot to bury them!). Now your students have no excuse not to try or believe in themselves!
Create a time capsule
For children entering primary or high school for the first time, you can create a time capsule on the first day that they only open when they leave school. Or, you can create a time capsule for just your class, where students open it at the end of the year. Here are things you can include in your time capsule:
- School picture
- Short biography that includes height, goals, and favourites
- A letter that students write to themselves
Divide your class into groups, and hand each group a deck of playing cards. The game is to see which group can build the highest card tower. The only catch is that students need to write one thing that their group has in common before they can place their next card in the tower. This game is fun, promotes teamwork and allows students to learn something about their classmates.
Use Smarties, M&Ms, or Astros for a fun back-to-school activity! Randomly divide the candies amongst the students. Each colour represents a question the learner has to answer. Questions can be things like:
- Tell us a story from your school holiday
- What is your favourite book/movie/series?
- What is something you do well?
- What can’t you live without?
This way the class gets to learn something about each other, and you get cool-teacher points for giving your students candy-coated chocolate in class!
Have a ‘snowball’ fight
Have each student write three interesting, little-known things about themselves. They must then crumble their papers into ‘snowballs’ and have a snowball fight! Once the fight is over, students pick up and smooth out the papers, and try to match the facts with their classmates.
The floor is lava
This is a fun back-to-school activity for older, more coordinated learners. Chairs for each student are arranged in a single line, and your students must stand on their chairs. Now tell your students they must arrange themselves in a certain way without touching the ground. These arrangements can be from youngest to oldest, in alphabetical order; you get the idea. Just ensure that your students move slowly to avoid any accidents!
We hope you have a great first week back at school, teachers!