Each year, I like to incorporate a few new back to school activities during those first few days of school. However, I do have some tried and true favorites that I pull out year to year (or have on standby if we have extra time). On this post, I will share some of my favorite printable back to school activities (with a link to download them for free!).
I “Mustache” You Some Questions
Students love asking their teachers questions. This handout has the students choosing three questions that they want the teacher to answer. I like to have the students complete this the first or second day of school and then choose a few to answer each day after.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
This simple handout is for the students to sketch their favorite summer memories. Before the students complete this, I like to share a few of my favorite summer memories. I always make sure to share experiences that are similar to what they may have had. I don’t talk about grand trips or vacations even if those are some of my favorite memories. Instead I share memories of being with family in practical locations or situations familiar to my students. This helps them feel more comfortable sharing their favorite memories, even if they are not fancy trips.
This activity also leads into our first writing activity and a pre-assessment for personal narratives. The students use the sketches of their favorite memories to guide their writing.
Two Truths and A Fib About Me
Two Truths and A Fib is a popular activity that I have been doing for years. To complete the activity, the students write down two truths and one fib about them (mixing up the order). Then they get in pairs or small groups, share the statements, and try and guess which statement is the fib. This can also be done in whole group. I like to model this activity beforehand by creating my own truths and fib and having the students guess which is which. We also talk about not choosing dramatic or unrealistic statements for the fibs so that they are not super obvious.
I Think My Teacher…
You would be surprised by how much your students already know about you if you have been at the same school for at least a year. If you are new to the school, save this activity for the second week of school to see how much the students have picked up already. For this activity, the students write down four statements that they think they know about you. To help, you can brainstorm categories as a class before the activity (family, pets, likes/dislikes, favorite things, etc.).
Find Someone Who
My students love “Find Someone Who” activities. I love how it gets them moving and talking to almost all of their classmates. For this activity, the students must find someone who fits the criteria of statements within boxes on their paper. Example statements include “went to the movies this summer”, “has the same birthday month as you”, or “can cook”. When the students find someone who fits the criteria, they have him or her initial the box. I do set a rule that you can only have a student sign one box. This requires the students to mingle more and talk with more students (versus having only a couple of students sign multiple boxes).
What Makes a Good Friend
This is a simple activity, but often much needed. As a class, we brainstorm what qualities make a good friend. Then the students use our brainstormed list to complete this simple handout.
I Am Excited About this School Year Because…
Here is another simple activity that has the students sharing their excitement about the school year. Often students have heard about field trips or events that are exclusive to a grade level and are excited about it. You may want to brainstorm categories, share what you are excited about, and have students share before having the entire class write down their thoughts. This helps students who are new to the school or have not heard much about this school year. I also like to have students share afterwards.
Goal Setting and Classroom Management Printables
And finally, we have random printables for setting goals and retelling different aspects of classroom management. These are not the most exciting activities, so I mix things up by letting them work with partners or even use colored pencils.
For the homework and discipline policy, I do a class writing activity where the students start the writing and then they move around the room to a new paper. They then have a few minutes to read and continue the writing. Then we move again and again until most of the writing is done (how many times you move depends on how long your policy is, how fast your students write and how long you give each student to write). The students then return to their original papers and read the completed policy.
—-> Want more activities specific to teaching rules and procedures? Click here to see a set of back to school activities specifically for teaching rules and procedures.
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Other Back to School Activities, Freebies, and Blog Posts
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