I love the beginning of the school year! There is no pressure for testing, you can do more fun activities that you couldn't otherwise, and your classroom is typically behavior problem free for at least a month!
Here are some of the activities I have done or will be trying this year:
* Gallery Walk Consensograms - This is a great activity to get to know your students learning styles/likes/dislikes. Give your students a sheet of sticky dots and post questions with multiple answers all around the classroom. Sample questions:
- What is your favorite subject? Math, Science, Reading, etc.
- Which way do you most like to complete your work? Alone, In a Group, With a Partner)
- My favorite reward is... Candy, Free Time, HW pass, Verbal Praise, etc.
* Snowball Fight - Have students write down 2 facts and 2 opinions of themselves in random order on a sheet of notebook paper. Once they have all completed this, have them ball up their sheet of paper and have snowball fight for 2 minutes. When you call freeze, the students must pick up 1 snowball near them, open it, and read the statements. They must label the statements as either facts or opinions. Then, go around the room and have students try to guess whose paper they have! (I have never tried this one, so use with caution and have lots of rules! I will be trying this one this year!)
* Skittles Activity - Let students take as many Skittles as they want from a bag. For each Skittle they take, they must divulge one fact about themselves.
* Read, "Crysanthemum," and discuss what's in a name! There are more great ideas for this book at Jen's blog, Following the Footsteps.
* Teacher Scavenger Hunt - Every year, I gather a bunch of things that are important or that represent me and scatter them around the room. I have the kids walk around the room and try to find the important things about me! Once someone finds one, we stop, gather around, and discuss the item that is important to me. After this activity, the students are asked to create an about me bag in which they must fill with at least 3 important things.
What fun things do you do at the beginning of the year to "break the ice?"