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Jul 27, 2015

50 Beginning of the Year Activities, Ideas & Freebies!

back to school ideas

     I hope everyone is enjoying their summer break!
I hate being the bearer of bad news, but Back to School is quickly approaching...Yikes!! 

beginning of the year ideas

I'm sure many of you are clinging on to those last few days of vacation. If you are having trouble setting down the margarita and jumping back into school mode, I totally understand. Hopefully the transition can be a bit easier for you after reading this blog post!

When it's time for you to plan out the first week of school, where do you start?

Do you focus on implementing classroom rules and procedures?

Do you focus on team building and collaborative activities to provide students the opportunity to get to know each other?

OR do you just jump right into content and curriculum?

Maybe you implement a combination of all three?

In this post you'll find activities, ideas (and maybe a few freebies woo-hoo!!) to get you back on track with planning for the new school year. I like to break down Back to School Activities into the following four categories!

-Team Building / Ice Breakers
-Behavior Management & Rule-Setting
-Games and Fun Activities
-Creative Writing and Artistic Activities

Team Building / Ice Breaker Activities 

Create a Group Name & Logo/Mascot! 
Here is a FREE resource I designed where students can work with their new group members to create a group name and image that represents their team!  This is a great team builder and ice breaker activity! Use the link below!
back to school freebie

back to school ideas

beginning of the year freebie

My Time Capsule
back to school lesson
 Have students create a time capsule! During the first week of school, ask students bring in a tin can or Pringles container. Allow them to decorate as they please. Have them write a message to their future self and write a date that they can finally open their time capsule. This is a great activity for strengthening creative writing and self development! Find the time capsule here!

Break the Ice with Task Cards
ice breakers classroom
Have your students perform ice breaking tasks that promote interaction with their peers! 

Group Puzzle Pieces
team building activities
Have students create a big puzzle within their group. Each puzzle piece has their name and drawings of what they love. After they fit their pieces together, they can discuss in a group how they decorated their piece and why. 

Games & Fun Activities!

Board / Dice Games
back to school board game
 Implement fun board games for back to school! 
This game is "Back to School" themed with questions such as, "What is the school subject called where you learn about plants, animals, and the natural world around you?"

Find My Match - Matching Game
back to school matching game
Cut and laminate "Back to School" themed matching cards. Find them here. Students must go around the classroom trying to find a student who has the same Back to School card as them. The catch is that they cannot show their cards. They must use descriptive language such as, "I have an item that carries my supplies to and from school". 

Color-Coded Questions
back to school ice breakers
This game can be used will Skittles as well! Have students answer color-coded questions as a beginning of the year ice breaker. 

Behavior Management & Rule Setting

The Zen Zone
behavior management zen zone
"The Zen Zone" is a great tool to implement starting the very first day of school. While giving your students a tour of the classroom, show them the assigned table called The Zen Zone. The Zen Zone has the jar, writing prompts, paper, and a pencil. Students who are having a rough day or having difficulty staying on task are sent to the desk. They pick a writing prompt at random from the jar. All of the prompts help them reflect on what is currently bothering them or preventing them from having a successful day at school. Get in the Zone here. 

Early Finishers
brain breaks early finishers

You know that student... the one who whips through an assignment at lightening speed only to raise their handed with that dreaded question... "I'm done, what do I do now?" 
If students ask you that question, you can finally direct them to the these bored buster activity prompts. Find them here. 

Creative Writing & Artistic Activities

Two Truths and a FIB - FREEBIE!

Do you know the game "Two Truths and a Lie"? It is the same creative writing and team building activity that you can play with your students! Have students write down two true statements about themselves and then have them write a false statement. Go around the room and have students try to guess which statement is false about each student. This freebie can be saved onto your computer as a PNG file and printed as a document. ENJOY! :) 

Self Portraits
Students can create self portraits to hang in your classroom! Have them come up with three words to describe themselves.

Fun Back to School Coloring- FREEBIE!
Sometimes, you just need a time-filler. We understand. If you need a little time to set up for the next activity, here's a free Color-By-Numbers activity for your students. Download as a PNG file and print.

For OVER 50 Back to School Activities, be sure to check out the links below! 


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