Ready or not….here we go!
Can you believe that it is already August and we are back in school!? Now, don’t get us wrong, we are excited for our new group of students and what we’re going to be doing this year, it just felt as though summer flew by!
As we are in the throes of the back to school season, we thought we would jot some of our thoughts, ideas, and activities that surround the topic of “Back to School”!
We also have a vlog (video blog) that corresponds with this post as well, so be sure to go check that out!
Ideas to Build Classroom a Strong Classroom Community
2. 'Me' Bag: Students bring 4-5 small items from home to share with the class.
Great options on TPT if your looking for something pre-made.
3. Investigate the Teacher: Place 5-8 items around the room. Have students find the items and predict what those items mean (favorite food, hobby, etc.) You could also put all of your items in a bag and pull out one item at a time to investigate. This will also have students start to use their background knowledge and inferring skills!
4.Writing People: Students create a poster size head/t-shirt of themselves. They are asked to take them home and put pictures on their person to help give them ideas of what to write about in the classroom. When the writing people come back to the classroom students share about the photos they put on their person. These “people” are also a great way to encourage family involvement, class discussion, and student connections. These are posted in the classroom year round and help make the classroom feel a little more like home for the students.
This lesson was adapted from Of Primary Importance: What's Essential in Teaching Young Writers Book by Ann Marie Corgill
5. Classmate Scavenger Hunt: Create a 3x3 grid (or more for older students/bigger classes). In each box place a different sentence. For example in the grids could be, “Went to the pool this summer” or “Traveled to a different state”. Students go around finding classmates that meet those categories. A great activity to get students moving and for students to get to know one another!
6. All About Me: Students create a book, hard copy or digital, or collage about themselves. Then do an author’s share circle.
7. Movement Circles: In this activity, toss a ball or something of the sort to help get discussions/sharing moving. Discussion could include favorite summer activity, favorite things, goals for the new school year etc...
8. This or That?: Create a slide deck with two options on each slide. Students will jump to the side of their choice. This is a fun way to get to know students while getting movement in as well!
9. The Magical Yet: Read this story to your students. Discuss how throughout the year things may be becoming challenging and they may not understand ….yet! We want students to know and understand that it is ok if they don’t understand right away! We also use this read aloud to then go into discussion of goal setting for the year. It is fun to hear about what students want to accomplish for themselves during the school year and it’s even more exciting that you (the teacher) get to be there to help them achieve those goals! If you’d like to listen to the story, check out this link!
10. Interest Surveys: Now, at the beginning of the year we actually do quite a few interest surveys with our students, they just don’t necessarily look like the normal “survey”.
We survey our students on how they work best (individually/partner/group), what kind of seating they prefer, their “perfect” reading spot, and book choice. All these surveys and information about our students help us, as educators, create the best and most effective learning environment for our current class.
Ideas for Setting Up Your Classroom
As always we are here to answer any of your questions. Feel free to send us a message!
Meg and Kara
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.