If you are trying to think about how you will engage your students in this upcoming school year, think no longer! Teachers are some of the most creative people out there! Present us a challenge – we will CRUSH it!
The number of activities you could browse for back-to-school are endless, but I want to share some of my favorites that can be done in-person or virtually to get to know your students!
Number 1: This or That / Would You Rather…
Not only are these games super fun for kids, but you can also learn so much about them! This is a low prep activity that can be shown on a screen with slides or you can create a simple template on chart paper and use sticky notes or index cards to change out the two options. Students can stand up/sit down to show their options or use the chat and “raise your hand” feature on digital platforms to respond. I love hearing the “Why?”, so allow time for a few students to share!
You can also turn this into a great writing activity! Students can do a quick write of their choice and why they prefer it! It is always interesting to hear student thoughts and perspectives while practicing writing skills.
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Number 2: Make a Selfie
All you need for this is white copy paper or construction paper and coloring materials. You can allow students to get as creative as they would like. Children will create selfies of themselves. I allow creative liberty for this. These self-portrait selfies make great displays to hang up on your classroom bulletin board! If you are starting virtually, students can still do this activity! They can open up a blank slide and use the draw/scribble feature, shapes, clipart, etc. to illustrate themselves. You can add their selfies to your virtual classroom wall display!
Number 3: All About Me Collage
This is a very low prep activity but so powerful in the first days and weeks of school! All you need is card stock or construction paper. You can give students time to create this in class or send it with students as a “take-home” project. Students can use magazine pictures, real photographs, or they can draw. It is helpful to set some criteria you want each student to include like:
- favorite color
- favorite subject, etc.
Otherwise, you can just let students have creative liberty with this, as well! If you are teaching virtually, students will work from a blank slide. They can add real images, clipart, fun fonts, etc. to express themselves. As always, allow time for students to share!
Number 4: All About Me Share Bag
I have always loved having students add items into a brown paper lunch bag that describe them or show things that are special to them. It is so important to learn more about each child that will make up the classroom family! If you’re teaching in-person, you will just need to give each student a brown paper lunch sack, this share bag label, and a due date. If you are teaching virtually, no problem! Your students can still do this activity by presenting their bags from home through the screen or they can even create a video presenting their bag and add it to Flipgrid for other students to view!
Grab these FREE share bag labels HERE!
Number 5: One Word
This is a SUPER fun and interactive game for kids; it really gets them sharing and learning more about each other! It is so simple – you will say a word or phrase like “Hobby” or “Favorite Food” and students will answer using only one word (if they use two or three words, it’s okay LOL)! This activity goes really quickly and it is neat to find commonalities and differences. A great discussion can occur based on what students share. Here are some possible categories you can ask:
- Birth Month
- Favorite Color
- Special Talent
Number 6: Scavenger Hunt
This is not a typical scavenger hunt where you will tell students to “find something yellow” and they run all over the house to find it. In a classroom, I LOVE the movement, but if your students are at home, it can be very distracting and may actually make the call a bit chaotic. For this scavenger hunt, I treat it like a structured show and tell. I tell students to look for 3 objects:
- the first item should be their favorite thing
- the second item should be something they are proud of, and
- the last item should be something that describes/tells more about them
Give students a few days to collect their artifacts or pictures to share. This is one of my favorite activities and the kids really look forward to it!
There are sooooo many other fun back-to-school activities you can implement at the beginning of the year… and honestly, throughout the year; but these are guaranteed to be a success whether you are face-to-face or teaching online! If you have any questions about these, do not hesitate to reach out and ask me! What other activities do you enjoy doing with your students? Comment and let me know!