It's that time of year again! Time to start thinking about the first day of school and how to engage your students. Often times, the first few days are bombarded with procedures and get to know you activities, but I thought it would be fun to try a stations activity. I've seen it floating around on the internet, so I made my own version and thought I'd share it with you, too!
This is available in my TpT store, but I wanted to give you a walkthrough :) There are 5 stations:
Here's the breakdown:
Each station includes a "station plate" that designates which station students are at as well as detailed directions. I always like to laminate the station plates so that they stand up better! But if you just printed them on a thicker paper (such as card stock) then they should stand up just fine.
Station 1: Syllabus Scavenger Hunt
Instead of just talking your way through the syllabus with students, have them "hunt" for some standard questions that they typically would have, as well as making them thinking about the upcoming year. This works with generally any syllabus.
There is also a question asking students to tell you how they feel about your cell phone policy! Encourage them to be candid with you and then you can always have a greater conversation about your cell phone policy if needed.
Station 2: Goal Setting
Here, students will work independently to identify an academic goal as well as a personal goal for the school year. They will also brainstorm different ways they will work towards those goals.
Station 3: Classroom Rules
Working as a group at their station, students will brainstorm logical and fair classroom rules for the year. You want to encourage students to come up with 5 rules, and emphasize that they should focus on respect, community and (possibly) cell phone use in class! Getting students to help create the classroom rules for the year helps build a sense of community as well as buy in - if they are the ones that created the rules, then they are more likely to follow them!
Of course you dictate the final "rules" for the classroom, but you can collectively look at what students came up with and use some of their wording to help share the rules.
Station 4: Getting To Know You
Building relationships is so important, so have students fill out a short questionnaire about themselves. I created a paper version as well as a Google Forms version, which is great to help keep paper use down, especially if you have 100 students or more!
The best part about the Google Form questionnaire? You can access the responses whenever you want. Win!
Station 5: Skills To Be Successful
Working as a group at their station, students should collaborate and brainstorm 9 skills that they should implement during the year in order to be successful students. This helps wipe off the summer dust that their brains have and start thinking like students again!
I really do think this would a great activity to implement in the first couple days of school (even the first day, if you're feeling especially brave! And have a normal schedule...) Setting the stage for engagement for the rest of the year will have students excited to come back day after day.
What are your go to activities for the first days of school? I'd love to hear!