First Day Activities for Students Who Already Know Each Other

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Ocalmy, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Ocalmy

    Ocalmy New Member

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    Aug 14, 2014

    Hello everyone! This will be my first post on the forum. Looking forward to participating!

    Last year I taught 7th grade English. This year I'll be teaching the same group of kids as 8th graders. I'd really like to spend a few days focusing on community/team building activities in order to create a positive and respectful environment.

    The kids were a bit of a challenge last year. I'm hoping they've matured a little over the summer. Also, there will be around 3 or 4 entirely new students in each class.

    I've found hundreds of activities for students getting to know each other for the first time, but what about activities for students who already know each other??

    Ideally, these would be activities in which they'd have to work together to accomplish a common goal or solve a common problem. The activities should be simple but fun.

    If anyone has any ideas or useful links, I'd really appreciate it.

    Context:

    International School
    17 Students per Class
    8th Grade
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2014

    Plan something content related...author research in coop groups, parts of speech posters or skits....
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I'll have a grade 7/8 split class and most of the kids will already know each other. I'm going to do a couple of team-building challenges--The Marshmallow Challenge and a cup challenge. This will give me an idea of how the students work in groups, who the natural leaders are and help me to set the expectations for group work.
     
  5. Ocalmy

    Ocalmy New Member

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    Aug 16, 2014

    Thanks for the reply MrsC! These activities look excellent! Just what I was looking for. :)
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Aug 17, 2014

    The good news is that there is usually a considerable growth in maturity between 7th and 8th grade. I have done the ice breaker activities, but assigned groupings, just to mix it up and show that sometimes the creation of a good and well thought out grouping trumps friendship or best friend status. That is a learning experience. I am a science teacher, so I use Multiple Intelligences survey and then follow that up with creation of teams based on the most effective consideration of filling both the strengths and weak spots to function at the highest level. I use an observation box, but I know that there must be a variety of activities that create collaborative learning in other content areas. What I want them to look for is the students to see that a team needs organization, and "hiring" your best friend may not help the team be competitive. Seventh graders don't seem to get it, but eighth graders are much more open to the concept of building a team. Good luck!
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Aug 17, 2014

    Oooh, I really like those, Mrs. C!

    I'm in the same place - looped up with my kids this year. I had about 80% of them last year.

    I usually do a little ice breaker/material finder. I have a list of directions.

    Find someone with the same color eyes as you.
    Find someone with the same style shoe as you.
    Find someone born in the same month as you.
    Find someone who knows Ms. Chebrutta's birthday.
    Find something students should never , ever touch.
    Where would you find a dictionary in the room?
    Where would you find a student stapler/pens/etc in the room?
    Etc.

    It works nicely because instead of immediately going to their friends, they have to find someone else. They get to know the room, and they have to come to me to ask a question when they don't know it (lol, it takes them a while to figure out that I know my own birthday).
     
  8. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2014

    I've never had the same students twice like you mentioned. But if I did, I would probably just ask about their summers, and go around the room like that; preview the quarter, and see if there is some topic "in the same ballpark" that is not in the syllabus that they would like to learn about. Usually there is something that the students will be interested in. For my history courses, they almost always want to learn about WWII, or in some cases, the 60's. I teach 8th, and I think that a good many of them are beginning to discover the 60's generation of music, and want to learn more about that time period. My classes tend to be a little more free ranging. I think the students stay more interested that way. I am being paid to educate them. That is what I do, although in a rather unorthodox way.
     
  9. sarahwilla

    sarahwilla Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2014

    The best activity would be like ask the students to tell about thier holidays like what they did, if they been to any place .. they can even explain that!!!
     
  10. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 3, 2015

    I've been doing a seating challenge for the past several years with good results - for me and the kids. I found it on the internet somewhere. Can't remember. It gives me a good idea of who the leaders are, who can't follow directions, who doesn't like to participate in groups, etc. Every year the kids ask if they can do this again during the year!

    You still get to greet the kids as they come to your room. Wednesday is the only day I interact with the kids other than greeting them- I ask if they have any questions. The other days, after greeting them at the door, I stand back and watch as they read the directions and do the activity.

    Each activity takes several minutes and then we go on with the activities of the day.

    Monday

    • Sit in birthday order so that the person with the birthday closest to January 1 sits in seat 1. The year you were born does not matter.
    • Don’t skip seats.
    • When everyone is seated, the student in seat 5 will raise his/her hand and report that the class is ready to begin.

    Tuesday
    • Line up in alphabetical order by the name you like to be called. Use last names and then middle names as tie-breakers.
    • Then sit with an equal number of students in each group of desks. Remaining students sit in the last group of desks.
    • When all are seated, student in the last seat raises his/her hand and reports that class is ready.

    WednesdayI write the following on a card. The student must read it and hand the card back to me before entering the classroom.
    • Complete this challenge in complete silence: Remain silent for the entire activity. Do not talk or whisper after you enter the room.
    • In the room, line up in order by height
    • Then take your seats with the shortest person in seat #1.
    • Do not skip seats.
    • When the class is seated, the student in seat #12 raise your hand, and when called on, report the class is ready.

    Thursday
    • Sort yourselves into two groups: sneaker wearers and non-sneaker wearers.
    • Next, each group forms two sub-groups: students with curly hair and those with straight hair. You have curly or straight hair if YOU think you do.
    • Each sub-group find enough chairs and sit in order from the person with the shortest hair to the person with the longest hair.

    Friday
    • Form two groups: students who prefer to spend free time indoors and those who prefer to spend it outdoors. You may like both, but you must choose ONE.
    • Within those groups, define your own subgroups based on the last thing you did when you spent free time the way you wanted to. Find a place to sit together and talk about your free time activity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jun 3, 2015

    Aussie - I love those ideas and might have to try it out this next year! I think I'll even use the opportunity to take notes on what I'm seeing so that I can refer back to it.
     

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