# First day activities--Ideas

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by mrs. dub, Jun 26, 2005.

1. ### mrs. dubCompanion

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Jun 26, 2005

Hi everyone,

I'm just trying to get a jump on next school year (it always comes faster than I think!) and I was brainstorming some new, fun activities for the first day of school. I teach 7-8th grade inclusive combo class, so I have all day with the same group of kids. I have done some standard "get to know each other" activities, but I'm always scared that the first day will go slowly and I'll run out of things to do.

Does anyone have any unique (or not so unique) ideas for games/activities/projects? Thanks so much for any help you can give!

Mrs. dub

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4. ### Steph-ernieGroupie

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Jun 26, 2005

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I remember in high school we had an ice breaker activity in our homerooms. We sat in a circle we each passed around a roll of toliet paper. When we got the toliet paper we had to take some squares off. It didn't matter how many. When everyone had their squares we had to tell so many things about ourselves. An example if I had 5 squares I had to tell 5 things about myself. Hope this helps.

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7. ### Love to TeachCohort

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Jun 27, 2005

Hi! The last two years, we have had a fun day by incorporating a watermelon theme. I teach 5th grade, so if you think this is too juvenile for your kids, I will understand. Everything we do, aside from going over procedures and handing out texts, has a watermelon theme. I'd have to dig out my file for all the activities, but just to give you an idea.....
Math: I found a mystery watermelon problem that they have to solve in cooperative groups, and we do measuring and predicting activites with watermelons I bring to class that day. You could easily make the activities level appropriate for your kids.
Reading: I found some sites which give lots of info about the watermelon industry. Before, I just ran off some info for the kids to read, but this year I plan to develop a scavenger hunt and have them find the info themselves.
Art: We talk about still life drawings. I cut the watermelon into wedges and place on a decorative plate or tray and then set it on a plastic red and white checkered tablecloth. The kids' drawings have been awesome!
I also use my digital cameral to take a 'first day' photo of each child, and then we make watermelon picture frames kits from Oriental Trading Co.
Other: I give out Watermelon Jolly Ranchers and watermelon bubble gum as treats or prizes during the day, and of course, we have watermelon!
I cut that up and put it in ice cream buckets the night before, so it will be good and cold. It also saves time and loss of 'control'. The first year, we had a seed spitting contest, but I have mixed feelings on that one!

Let's see: I am really getting wordy here-sorry! But, a couple of other things that I have done that went over well were:
"Numbers that Name Me" project-I have a body outline (sort of like a paper doll form) that I enlarge onto a 12X16 sheet of white construction paper. Each student gets one and "dresses" the body form and then writes on the paper all the numbers that define them (telephone, age, address, birth order, locker number, grade,etc.) It is amazing how many numbers we have to remember! The kids can get pretty creative, too. Some students have drawn in credit cards cascading down from the body outline's open hand. They put some of their numbers on these 'cards'. Other numbers are just placed all around the body shape. The students can then share when finished.
One more (Promise! ) I got this (like most of my ideas!) from somewhere. It may have even been from AtoZ! It is a great 'listening', 'following directions', 'cause/effect', and 'to know each other's names' type of activitiy. On index cards, you write things such as: After Bill shakes Mary's hand, go turn off the lights- As soon as Cindy turns off the lights, go sit on the teacher's chair. It's kind of like a domino effect with each card building on the one that preceded it! Thing is the students have to figure out which card comes next!
You just randomly pass out a card to each student. One card could say: After the teacher claps her hands, write your name on the board. Then you clap your hands and the activity begins! It is great fun and the kids really have to pay attention to make it work!

Sure hope this might give you some ideas! Again, please accept my apologies if these ideas are too 'young' for middle schoolers!

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Jun 27, 2005

My class loved that cause/effect game so much! You might have gotten it here 'cause I remember chatting about it. You can have the kids write about what they think the year will be like. Keep it in a folder for next May and have them read them again and respond to them. They usually get a kick out of that. ("Ooooh, I thought fractions were going to be so hard but they weren't!") If all the kids don't know each other yet, there is a lot you can do. They can pair up and interview each other, then draw/write about their partners.

I always give a quiz about myself and tease them that it is going to count as a grade. They are so funny because they can't tell if I am kidding.
Make sure and have some action the first few days. That really hooks them in. Even silent speedball and siomn says are great icebreakers. Play games like Around the World or do Mad Libs so you can assess some of their skills. I use sticks with the student names on them. You can have the kids decorate the bottom half of their own stick (leave the top half blank so you can pick names at random when used). If you plan to read aloud daily (my favorite time of day), start a novel the first day.

9. ### mrs. dubCompanion

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Jun 27, 2005

Great ideas, guys--thanks! Keep 'em coming, please!

10. ### YabasicRookie

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Jun 28, 2005

A great starter activity is to get the children into pairs, and get them to interview each other like Upsadaisy said, asking questions to each other like "what are your hobbies?" and "what are your favourite subjects?" and then get them to report back to the whole class so every member of the class has an idea of what each person likes doing etc.

11. ### mmeblueRookie

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Jun 28, 2005

I pretty much just have the kids write down some info for me (name, parents' names, phone #s, and a couple of random questions), go over the class policies & procedures, and then get started with the year's material.

12. ### JulesWRookie

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Jun 28, 2005

Love to Teach,
I like your idea of a "theme" to tie the first day together. I plan on adapting your ideas for my 4th graders. Thanks!
Missy

14. ### Love to TeachCohort

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Jun 29, 2005

Missy, thank you! Sure hope you have as much fun with it as I have had! It just has been a really positive way to start the year off...to set the tone, so to speak. If you have any questions or would like more details, please don't hesitate to let me know. I would be happy to share whatever materials or links I have!

Was just thinking...the theme could be most anything. Guess, I chose watermelons because it is always so hot that first week of school for us!
Tonight, I ran across a wonderful teacher website which had an wealth of activites and information on apples-even had a llink to a site where there was a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" interactive game with all the questions being about apples! It was really neat!

http://www.mce.k12tn.net/specialed/units/units.htm

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16. ### gmatarasNew Member

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Jul 14, 2005

People Bingo Question

How long do you give them to work on the activity'? :thanks:

17. ### pattyanneRookie

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Jul 14, 2005

This is not original, but I've found it works really well. Can be a bit chaotic so you need to be well organised!! Create a "Human Treasure Hunt" sheet and give a copy to each student. The student must find one other person (or more) who has/ is / likes / etc. the item on the treasure hunt.

Ideas for questions include:

someone with eyes the same colour as your's (causes great amusement and argument!)
someone who has travelled to .............. (major city, next state, overseas)
someone who plays ...............(in a sports team, a musical instrument)
someone who likes ....... (food, or other)
someone who dislikes ..............(food, or other)
someone who watches .......(TV show)
someone who has seen ............ (movie)
someone who listens to ................ (favourite bands)
someone who supports ............(sports teams)
favourite subject ................... (suggest one, eg. Maths)
favourite free time activity.................(suggest one - eg. computer time)
preferred recreation activity ....................(suggest one - eg. swimming)

You can see why it is best to make up your own - you can include local sports teams, favourite music of your school or area, current movies, TV shows on your local stations, etc.

About 12 - 15 "questions" are enough.

Each student has to fill in the form with at least one name next to each item. You can have a bit of fun by throwing in an odd question that no-one will like (or know) - eg. "who likes to listen to Glenn Miller?" or "whose favourite food is brussel sprouts?"

To avoid total chaos, you need some rules! If you have a big class, allow four people at a time (or one group, or one row - whatever suits your situation) to interview others. They then sit down and in turn are interviewed by others!

They aren't supposed to cheat off each others sheets, but I usaually turn my back on this in the last few minutes, provided they've made an obvious effort to talk to others and find out information.

Good Luck!

18. ### bina1357Companion

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Jul 14, 2005

First Day Ideas

Hi,

I am a 4th grade teacher so I don't know if these will apply but I'll share anyhow!

1) I give a Me Quiz...I make up True/False questions about me & they answer them. Then I give them all the right answers. After that I ask them to make up 10 true/false statements about themselves & we switch!

2) Classroom Scavenger Hunt...I give them a worksheet that lists the different areas of the room & what they need to do there. Examples: Go to Reading Center, choose 2 books & write down the titles. Go to the Birthday Chart, add your name under the month you were born, Go to the colored cart, how many drawers does it have? (this is their center w/pencils/paper/crayons, etc)

3) I do the basic Find Someone Who... This is like a bingo sheet & each box has tem find someone who has blue eyes, who has visited another country, etc.

4) I have them write down their thoughts & feelings about starting the new year & what they hope to learn or improve on in 4th grade.

5) We do textbook scavenger hunts (look through the book & find table of contents, index, chapter 2, etc & they write down a little bit of info from each section so I know they found them)

I know I have more but that's all I have for now.

Tina

19. ### mrs. dubCompanion

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Jul 14, 2005

Thanks everyone! I have gotten some great ideas--I especially like the theme ideas and the "Me" quiz. I also re-did some of the items for the Human Treasure Hunt/People Bingo based on the links and what people wrote in their replies--mine were pretty boring before.

We start school on a Thursday, so I basically now have a good bank of ideas for those first couple days. Thanks so much for all the suggestions!

mrs. dub

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Jul 15, 2005

When I do the People Bingo activity I have the kids fill out a questionaire first so that I know what things to put on the bingo grid.

21. ### gmatarasNew Member

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Jul 15, 2005

People Bingo Question

Jules,
How much time do you give them to complete the Bingo Sheet?
Guila

22. ### JulesWRookie

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Jul 15, 2005

Personally I would just moniter and give them as much time as they need without letting it get out of hand. But say, maybe 20 mins or so?

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24. ### kvergne@acsc.neNew Member

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Jul 29, 2005

educationworld.com

You might try www.educationworld.com. If you don't see anything advertised on their sign-in page, type "Icebreakers" or "First Day" in the search box. They give tons of ideas, especially for elementary teachers.