In the first week of school, most teachers are obligated to go over the basics such as their classroom procedures and the syllabus. When your students have six or seven classes a day, this repetition can get quite boring for them. Here are 24 ways to make the first week of school more exciting for your middle school students.
1. Meet the Teacher
A great way to get your students excited about school is with postcards. If you have access to your student's information in the summer, you could send them a card. If you don't, you could wait and have them available at Meet the Teacher Night or on the first day of school. Include a "meet the teacher" section or simply send out a note letting them know how excited you are to see them.
3. Right or Wrong
We are always looking for a way to make classroom procedures more interesting. The Teacher's Prep practices skits with her students! The students create skits showing both the right and wrong way to follow a procedure. This helps to reinforce the classroom procedures while still making it an enjoyable time for the students!
Find her full explanation for the skits here.
4. Rules Creation
The majority of the time, the teachers create the classroom procedures, but when we give the students a chance to create their own, we give them a sense of ownership in the class.
Ashley Bible shares how she gave the students the opportunity to create flexible seating classroom procedures.
5. Hand Signals
Think about adding hand signals to your classroom procedures. Hand signals bring down the number of interruptions and give the students a positive way to interact with the teacher.
Grab a set of hand signal posters here.
6. Back to School Stations
Ready to go over your syllabus? Try using stations. The Daring English Teacher shares four stations for your students to move through on the first day including a syllabus scavenger hunt!
Check out her stations.
7. I Will Poem
Set intentions for the year with the "I Will" poem. Students complete several statements of what they will or will not do in the school year. You can then use the poems for a hallway display!
Create your own poem with the students or find one in this Back to School Bundle.
8. Growth Mindset Display
The Designer Teacher put together another hallway display you could use in the first weeks of school. This activity lets the students focus on their attainable goals for the school year. It's a great way to get them thinking about goal setting and it's an adorable hallway display!
Grab the activity here.
9. Book Banner
10. Digital Vision Board
There are many activities we can use for goal setting in the first weeks of school, but a digital vision board is a really fun activity! A vision board is a collection of pictures and phrases that help you to visualize your goals and desires.
Check out this post for some helpful tips on getting started.
11. Letter to Your Future Self
A great first day of school activity is having the students write letters to themselves. This could be simply for the end of the school year or you could aim further to the end of high school. Have them write about both what's happening in their current life but also what they want to achieve in the year or in their remaining school years.
Grab a free template here.
12. Read Aloud
When you think about reading aloud to a class, most of us imagine younger students, but this can still be enjoyed in middle school.
13. Book Raffle
If your students read books from the classroom library, take this opportune moment to host a book raffle. The students vote on which book they want to read in class and you raffle off the books.
See how Building Book Love does this activity.
14. Interactive Notebooks
Starting your interactive notebooks is a great first week of school activity. Start with your classroom procedures or syllabus and build up from there.
The Truthful Tutor has great advice and ideas for middle school notebooks.
Normally we don't assign quizzes in the first week of school, but we can make these quizzes a little more fun. Give the students a quick learning style quiz or a personality quiz. This will help you to understand your students more and better know how to work with them and help them.
Miss G shares how she combines a personality quiz with a reflective writing activity.
16. Brain Teasers
17. Four Corners
If you're looking for an activity to help the students learn more about each other, four corners is a great first day of school activity. Call out or display four options and have the students gather in whichever corner matches their answer.
Write and Read created digital slides you can display.
Icebreaker games are great first-day activities to build a positive classroom community. One of my favorite activities is Likes/Dislikes. In Likes/Dislikes, the students write down what they like and dislike. Then, the class tries to guess who wrote what.
Here are 15 more games you could play with the students using their likes and dislikes.
19. Would You Rather
22. Investigate the Teacher
This is another great way for your school students to learn more about their teacher. Put together an "investigate the teacher" activity with questions the students will solve by taking a peek around the classroom.
Find printouts for the activity here.
23. Teacher Guess
Your students will love making predictions about your life. Give them some true or false questions, have them guess your favorites, and ask some relevant classroom questions.
Here is a great slide show template for your next teacher guess game.