Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Day of Class Ideas

My school just started its spring semester this week and many other schools are starting as well. With a new semester comes new classes and I always like to start the new semester getting to know my students and doing some fun team building activities or games to get them excited about their new class. Here are some suggestions of activities I have used on the first day.

Writing & Art Telephone Game

This fun game is perfect for practicing creativity, writing sentences, and drawing. I give my students a long sheet of paper and have them fold it into little squares. In the first square they write some kind of silly sentence. Then they pass the paper to the next player and that player draws out the sentence in the next box and folds the sentence back. The next player draws a picture of that sentence and so forth. I have done this with elementary and high school students and both grade levels were very amused at the end of this game! It's a fun way to start the school year.

Vocab Memory

Vocab memory is an easy game to play and a great way to introduce students to basic vocab words they will use throughout the year or semester. It is easy to set up as well. I cut about 12 pieces of copy paper in half and taped them to my board. Some of the paper can easily be seen through, so I also added a Post-It to cover up the words as well. Under each one I wrote a word or a definition. I had my classes divided into two teams and would lift up two sheets of paper and play on the board like regular memory, with each student taking turns. After picking up a new word I would ask them what it meant or what word might match the mystery definition. It was a great way to see which students knew which words and how familiar they were with basic art vocabulary.

Personal Symbol

Having students either learn or review what a symbol is and create one for themselves is another great first day of class idea. Seeing what students come up with for themselves helps you learn a lot about them and that knowledge is valuable in those early weeks! I have used these blank mandala templates before and had each section of the mandala be represent something different for them to draw. One section was for them to create a symbol of themselves, one section was to write a goal for themselves for that school year, etc... The bonus is that most students love talking or drawing about themselves!

See What Their Personality Is

A personality test is another fun way to get to know your students on the first day of class. There is a fun one here and you can also print out questionnaires about learning styles so you can see what types of learners you have in class. Most students love learning more about themselves and enjoy these types of quizzes.

Break the Ice

Ice breakers are always a hit! They can be a great way for the students to get to know each other and you to know them. Find a huge amount of free ice breaker and team building activities at Teampedia.

Those are my favorite ways to start the semester!

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