Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Week of School

Ok teachers! It's officially getting down to the wire. It's time to start planning those back to school activities! I love these types of activities, personally, and I am thrilled to be already planning them.

I posted earlier about my Daily Discovery that I will be using everyday as a tool to get my students to come in and get focused. The Daily Discovery tasks will be anything from trivia questions to logic to common sense to just plain silliness. However, during the first week of school, these tasks will be focused on procedures, getting to know each other, and general back-to-school stuff. I just wanted to share these ice-breaker type activities in case some of you out there are struggling to find something awesome and engaging to do during the first few days back.

In addition to the Word Scramble that I mentioned in my earlier post {listed below}, I also plan to have a "Snowball Fight". What?! A snowball fight in August? Yep! Students will write down three things about themselves on a piece of paper that they think is interesting. Then, they'll wad them up and once everyone is ready, we'll throw them around the room in snowball-fight fashion! After a few minutes (or seconds...) students will pick up the "snowball" that's closest to them and introduce that person to the class. Of course, Mrs. Brown will participate in ALL get-to-know-you activities of the week!

Since the first day will be devoted to introducing procedures, the second day will be the day that we make sure everyone understands what's expected of them in my science lab. Hence, the "Around the Room" questionnaire. Day two will also be the first day of real instruction. We don't mess around at BWF Elementary!

By today, we're hopefully on a roll and we understand the way our little science world works. Now it's time to get to know our new friends! The snowball fight provided a mini-intro for each student, but now we want to know lots more about each other. And we'll do that with a Human Scavenger Hunt! This isn't a new concept, but I really like it and think it is appropriate for fifth graders.

Okay, today will be the first "real" Daily Discovery question. But I threw in a little something about myself to make it a little more fun. This task involves putting dogs in order by weight, according to the clues. But the dogs just so happen to be characters from Mrs. Brown's real life! Layla is my dog, Foxie, Sammie and Roscoe are my momma's dogs, and Otter is my little sister's dog. Of course, I will introduce this fun fact after the students have completed the task.

Week wrap-up! By this time, I will be thanking my lucky stars that I survived the week! But I also want to give students the opportunity to reflect on everything that has just been thrown at them. What are the excited about? Nervous about? Want to learn more about? This is the perfect opportunity to implement a "Dear Me" letter. Each student will write a little to himself/herself that will outline any or all of these things, plus anything else they want their future self to know about. I will collect and save these letters and at the end of the school year, I will pass them back out. It will be important for students to have tangible evidence of how much they will have changed by the end of the year! And even though I teach science, I still strive to incorporate all subjects, especially writing. And yes, Mrs. Brown will definitely be writing a letter to herself, too!

I hope these have given you some ideas that you can use during the first few days of school! I would love to hear any new ideas as well! It's never too late to go back and change my plans or incorporate another activity!!


  1. You're going to get tired of my comments...lol! I am so happy I found your blog....thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics and her Monday Made It! I love, love, love all of your first week activities! I had already found the Saving Fred activity and planned to use it the first week or maybe even the first day, but I am definitely planning to use some or maybe all of yours too! If you don't mind that is! Would you mind sharing them? If not, I understand! I love your lesson plan format too and couldn't get the link to work. It just says it is redirecting. Not sure what is going on....but I love your blog! Thanks again for sharing!

    1. I am so glad you found my blog, too! I love knowing people use the stuff I'm putting out there! I know I borrow a lot of ideas from others, so it's nice to pay it forward. I would never get tired of the love, so keep it coming.

      I put the Get To Know You Scavenger Hunt on my TpT page. You can download that for free here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Human-Scavenger-Hunt

      What other activities did you want me to provide? I can put them all up on TpT for you!!

      Thanks again for visiting! I will be following your blog momentarily!

    2. I really like your lesson plan format for science. Is that something you would be willing to share? I love your blog....you have wonderful, fresh ideas!

      Keep Calm & Imagine

  2. I am blown away by your creativity and ideas! These are excellent ideas for the first week. Engaging but not stressful (for the teacher or the kids). I can't wait to read the rest of your posts! I'm following you and adding your blog to my list right now. I'm in B'ham too by the way so maybe we'll run into each other sometime!

    Tales of a Fifth Grade Teacher

  3. Wow, thanks Linda! What a nice thing to see! And that is too cool that you're here in Birmingham! Where are you teaching? I'm in Mountain Brook and loving it. This is my first year as a teacher, so I am really excited about everything! I'm so glad I found your blog!!!!!

  4. I was teaching in Jefferson County, but I'm taking the year off to stay home with my little boy. The first few years of the teaching are the hardest, but they are also the best because everything is so new and exciting!

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