10 First Day of School Activities

Make the first day memorable!

I am going to do 2, 4, 5, 7, and 10 over the first week of my classroom.

  1. Time Capsule: Compile a “time capsule”. This can be as simple as a shoe box! Inside the time capsule, have each child draw a picture of themselves and fill out basic information about their preferences. Teacher can also include: measurements of all students’ heights, actual class photograph, and “scraps” of paper from the first day (photos, work samples, etc.). Here is a link to a free Time Capsule Worksheet.fe28f64b635dd7719b661c882a53e361
  2. Class-Puzzles: Each student gets a blank puzzle piece to decorate however they want. An instant display in which your students can find themselves.
  3. Class Rules: Work together as a class to draft class rules. Allow students to write their own independently. Once independently brainstormed, compile ideas onto an anchor chart and sort by commonalities, such as “Respect self” (don’t be late, wear appropriate clothes, etc.), “Respect property” (use tools correctly, don’t draw on the walls, etc.), and “Respect others” (be nice, don’t talk in the hall, etc.). Help students sort their ideas, even the obscure ones!
  4. Bucket Lists: Set goals for the upcoming year using Bucket Lists. Here are the links to the bucket lists for each grade level: firstsecondthirdfourthfifth, and sixth.

5. First Day Jitters: Read First Day Jitters and make Jitter Juice!

6. A Big Wind Blows For: This game is the connection version of musical chairs.  Benefits of this game: Highly active, students find commonalities with other students, and very engaging. Potential Challenges: Must be modeled initially (moving safety), shy students may struggle, and competitive students may struggle.

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7. Get to Know You PhonesI am personally going to do this low-stress writing and drawing activity. It will not be our only on-going first week task, but an easy one to display for students to express themselves.

8. How Do You Like to Learn? Give students this survey to learn more about their learning styles!

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9. Get to Know You Board Games: Print and play these three board games to get to know your students!

10. What I Wish My Teacher Knew: This does not have to be done on the first day. But how much would you learn about your students if they could tell you one thing completely anonymously? If you would like to structure the activity with a template, look here.

¡Hola! Hello! Welcome!

My passion is making learning fun and accessible. 

My name is Lauren Ortiz, and I’ve been teaching students with special needs for the past four years in Fairfax, VA.

In that time I have worked with students in ALL grades from K through 6th! Right now I am working with 3rd through 6th graders, but I’ll always have a place in my heart for primary learners (K-1). There is no greater thrill than teaching a kid something for the FIRST TIME! Right now, I am working diligently to instill that genuine love of new knowledge into my older learners. Fortunately, I have some of the best students on the planet.

I am originally from Knoxville, TN and will always consider myself a southerner at heart. Although, I have lived in Virginia since attending college here (WAHOOWA! UVA!).

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