Back to school!? Wait...where did the summer go? As I sorted through piles of papers and props that I left at the end of last year (note to self: no matter how exhausted you are always finish cleaning your classroom at the end of the year) activities to start the school year started spinning through my head...
I find the beginning of the year to be a tricky time--I want my students to leave after the first day feeling excited about learning and knowing that they are an important member of our classroom community. This is often a tall order when you only have 30 minutes and a classroom full of squirmy elementary students! My beginning of the year activities are always evolving and they have been largely inspired by Bryce Hedstrom's La persona especial and Ben Slavic's Circling with Balls. I love both of these beginning of the year activities because it gives the students a chance to learn more about one another and it also gives you as the teacher an opportunity to show that you are invested in each individual student. Having said that, I personally have found that at the elementary level students have a hard time staying engaged and focused if I spend 5-10 minutes in a discussion about each individual student. I value the premiss of these activities so I've come up with a few alternatives for the elementary classroom...
How are you beginning the year? Feel free to post your own ideas below!