Beginning a new school year can be stressful for teachers and for students. Students are nervous about meeting people in their class, and teachers are curious to see just how each student interacts with others. By planning appropriate back to school activities, teachers can help alleviate nerves, and get to know their students!
- Plan Over the Summer: Use your summer to research the Internet, your school media center for teachers, and teaching supply stores, for new and fun ideas on back to school teaching activities. The better you plan and research activities, the more prepared you will be for those first few days back to school!
- Stick With What Works: If you have been doing teaching activities each year that previous students seem to enjoy, then continue doing so. Have a backup plan in case the activity doesn't work with the current group, but if it's been successful in the past, chances are it will again!
- Make Them Fun: Don't just go around the room asking the students what they did for their summer vacation. What if the student didn't go anywhere or had family problems that resulted in a discouraging summer break? Make the activities you do fun; get the students out of their seats and interacting with each other.
- Make the Activities Age-Appropriate: You certainly don't want the students to do activities that they would feel are too young for them. You also want everyone to be able to participate regardless of the maturity differences that can exist within a classroom.
- Always Make the Activity a Learning Experience: Teachers can do back to school activities the first week of school and make the activities educational at the same time. Try starting each class with an activity geared towards the specific class being taught. If you are teaching math class, have the children separate into different areas of the room according to eye color. When the class is separated, graph how many of each eye color you have in the room. The students have done a fun back to school activity and graphing at the same time.
- Get to Know the School: Do an activity, such as a scavenger hunt, to introduce students to different areas of the school. This is an important activity to do, even if the students have gone to the school for many years. Not only does it refresh the memories of returning students, it also introduces the new students to areas they may not know. Essential areas to teach about include where the office, cafeteria and bathrooms are located, as well as the Principal's office. Introducing these areas is a great way to start the year.
Teachers often spend the first week of school doing back to school activities. If the activities are fun and involve the students in many different ways, the first week of school can be fun for teacher and student alike.