This is my first year in 5th grade and was wondering what types of icebreaker activities you do with your students during the first week of school. I'm at a new school and new grade level. There is only one class per grade level, although I will have 7 students who are new to the school, 20 have been together for awhile. I'm thinking of a getting to know you activity, a time capsule, and read aloud but I'm looking for some energizers/ice breakers to fill in the time and make it fun.

Ooooh, I'd like to hear what people have to say, also. I'm switching to 5th after three years in 1st, and will be the only teacher at grade level, too. I know I'm hoping to have the kids put together an "all about me" thing on the computer and then run the slideshow at Back-to-School night. The more ideas the merrier, though!

The first day I show them around the room and work on teaching procedures during the first week. I work in a school where I am the only fifth grade teacher and most of my students have been together since kindergarten. For the new students I usually assign them a buddy to help them get acclimated with the school. I do not do a whole lot of community building because they are a group already. However, since you have several new students I would do some group work to help them get to know each other.

I copied this from a post by TeacherChele from a discussion earlier in the summer: I also do a paper wad fight where the kids write 3 clues about themselves on a piece of paper. We wad them up, throw them, everyone grabs a paper wad 2-3 read theirs aloud and try to guess who it is. Then we wad them up and play several rounds. The paper airplane is a favorite-everyone makes a paper airplane and puts his/her name on it. We stand in a circle and fly the planes. Once they land everyone takes a plane and writes a compliment to the owner. We do several rounds of this and then the kids get to take their planes home. Bio poems are great. PM me for the format, if you're interested. Goals- use t-shirts on a clothes line, leaves on a tree, whatever you like and have the kids write 3 goals for the year. Keep these all year and return them on the last day of school.

We do a scavenger hunt the 1st day. Kids have to do a math word problem. When they finish the problem, they show me the answer. If it is correct, they get a clue. They read the clues (Where do we go to check out books?, easy stuff like that...but great for the new kids to find their way around) then go to that place in the school. At each "answer" there is a bag with a tanagram piece. Once they've done all 7 math problems and visited all 7 answers, they come back put together their tanagram as a square. Once they show me their square, I give them a large piece of construction paper and they can create and glue down whatever they want from their pieces. They can use crayons/markers to decorate their finished creations. Makes great artwork to hang in the hall the 1st day. I also cut out 4's on the diecut machine (I teach 4th grade). Each student gets a 4 and a piece of paper that says "I turned my 4 into a..." They transfigure their 4's into whatever they want...you get some pretty interesting work from them.

I really like that paper plane one. And I have a feeling I'll be finding a way to work in that tanagram scavenger hunt! :thanks:

True for me, too, mostly. Probably 15 out of 23 of my students were in Advanced 3rd last year. :lol: This is the second year of the advanced program, so this is going to be different because I've never had so many students from the same third grade class together before. Hey, the other eight or so will have fun.

This is my 5th year to teach 5th grade. One thing that I have learned is to really focus on procedures, community building, etc. that first week. I used to think "They are older, they don't need as much practice". WRONG. I also really work on building relationships with them. That is very important in 5th grade. They need to have a reason and motivation for doing well. That's my group of 5th graders anyways.

I am beginning my first year or teaching in 5th grade this fall. I really love the activities you are listing. My class is in a unique situation. I am teaching in a 1st year charter school. As of right now, I have 17 students that have most likely never met each other. They will be the oldest kids in the school throughout the rest of their time at the school (we are starting K-5 and adding one grade per year). Any ideas to build a good group of leaders and a great community environment?

This is my second year teaching 5th grade. I love it. One of my ice breaking activities last year was a scavenger hunt. I made up a bingo card with the squares already filled in...with things such as a person who is the oldest sibling, a person who owns a cat, a person who went to another state for vacation. Students (even though they know each other, they get to learn things they don't know) have to go around the room and get a signature for each square (one signature from each student)....I'm included in the game...after 5 minutes, the one with the most signatures wins a free homework pass. Tons of fun.

the kids come to meet your teacher the night before school starts and on their desk is a paper bag and instructions to put 3 things about themselves in the bag (small soccer ball if they play soccer, guitar pick if they play guitar, doll if they like to play with dolls, a pencil if they like to write etc.) really encourage creativity. then everyone brings them the first day and they stand in front of the room and share. some feel really uncomfortable at first but it gets them over their fear of the "newness' of school and they really enjoy sharing about their interests!

I like to give each student skittles...as they walk in I tell them to take between 2 and 10 skittles. I tell them not to eat them just yet. After they are all seated I ask who would like to go first. I tell them that for each skittle they have taken they have to tell me something about themselves. It gets the students to open up on the first day and it helps me to get to know a few things about each student

I do an M&M activity. Each child is given 10 M&M's and each color means something different (ex. orange=family, blue=pets, ect.). The students list facts for the number of each color of M&M. They then turn this into a writing assignment about themselves. They enjoy the activity because after they are done with their writing they get to eat their M&Ms.

I did this activity last year where I had a roll of toilet paper. I passed the toilet paper around the room and told my students to take as many squares as they wanted. But I think I limited them to like 15 squares because I know the kids in my school. And I know that one of them would have been the "smart" one to take the whole roll. I didn't tell them what it was for. After everyone got their toilet paper squares. We went around the room and for as many squares as you took, that was how many things you had to tell us about yourself. For example, one student took 15 squares and in return had to tell the class 15 things about themselves. It was a good activity for the first day.

I love all of these ideas, especially the m&ms and the paper airplane. The first week I do a lot pf procedures, team building and character ed. The one that my students liked best this year was a balloon team building activity. We had just finished talking about cooperation and honesty. Then the students stood up with their table groups and had to compete and see which student could keep balloons up the longest, while I went around and added more. They loved it, but also were very honest and worked together! I also do the activity with boxes that have sayings like: who went on vacation this summer. The students have to go around and get signatures from classmates in the boxes. I also had students interview a classmate and then we talked about biographies and wrote them. Another good one is the human knot. Stand in a circle. Everyone puts their right hand in and grabs hands with 1 person. Then do the same with left hand. They then have to untangle without letting go of their hands. Lots of fun ideas for the beginning. Even if the students know each other, its a good way for them to get to know you and teach character lessons.