Back to school is always an exciting time of the year! Some children (and teachers!) may be a little apprehensive about starting the new school year though, so what better way to welcome your students to their new classroom than through some fun community building activities?
Part 1 of “Back to Cool: Creative Community Building Activities for the First Week” explores creative and engaging ways to build classroom community on the first day of school. Some of these activities are quick, while others take a bit more time. In the past, we have spread these activities throughout September to build a strong foundation for our classroom communities.
These activities are great on the first day of school, but they can really be used any day of the year!
- Student Scavenger Hunt
- 2. Class Code of Conduct
- Class Quilt
- It’s All in the Bag!
- We All Fit Together
- Class Slogan, Name, Cheer, or Song!
Create a handout for students to fill in with their favourite items, such as: favourite sport, colour, movie, school subject, song. Once students fill in their favourites, they are to mix and mingle around the room to find other students in the class that listed the same favourite items!
Many teachers have a class set of rules posted somewhere in their classroom for their students to follow. What about creating the classroom rules with your students on the first day of school? As a community, create a Class Code of Conduct by brainstorming the positive behaviours that everyone will strive to adhere to throughout the year. Once the code is written, have everyone in the class (teacher included!) sign their name. This is a very powerful activity to let all students know that we are collectively responsible for our behaviours and successes.
Grab some leftover white fabric and cut it into squares to create a beautiful class quilt! The size of each quilt patch is up to you, but we’ve found a 10-inch x 10-inch piece works best. Each student receives a patch and they use markers and pencil crayons to decorate the quilt piece to illustrate their personalities, hobbies, interests, and goals for the year. The patches are then sewn together (or even stapled if you can’t sew!) and displayed on the classroom wall like a tapestry. It’s a beautiful creation that can then be given to a student on the last day of school (one year we gave it to a student who was moving away, while other years we chose a name at random).
Fill a paper bag with 5-10 items that represent who you are and share them with your students along with a brief description of why each item is important to you. Students love to find out this kind of info about their teachers! Have students do the same activity by bringing in a paper bag filled with their own items the next day to present to the class.
Similar to the classroom quilt, this activity has students decorating a puzzle piece and then all pieces are put together to create a completed classroom puzzle. This shows off how everyone in the class is connected! (Click here for the activity!)
Make your class stand out by coming up with a class slogan, cheer, or song that is unique to your students.