The most important thing that happens in the school and classroom community during the first few weeks is encouraging children to get to know each other and to begin to see their class as a team.

Here are some activities for creating connections with your community of learners.

  • Ball of Yarn Have students join you in a circle. Hold a ball of yarn, share your name and something about yourself. Holding the end of the yarn, toss the yarn ball to a student. That student shares his or her name something about him or herself.  The student holds on to the string and then tosses the ball to a third student. When all the students have had a chance, the ball is tossed back to the teacher. It now looks like a spider web. It is an opportunity to discuss with students cooperation, interdependence. Instead of names you (and they) could share a hope of what will make this a great school year.iStock_000006627044Small
  • People poems Students write their name vertically on a piece of paper, and write things about themselves that begin with each letter of their name.
  • Time Capsule Collect empty Pringles cans or paper towel rolls. Have students write a handwriting sample, draw an outline of their hand, list some favorites (TV show, food, color, etc.). Place in the can/roll and seal. Open on the last day of the school year.
  • Sticker Partners to get to know each other better. Give a sticker or specially shaped paper to each child as they enter your classroom. Make sure there are 2 of each item so that students can match up. Have the students find their matching partner, interview him or her (name, favorite color, something they are good at) and then take turns introducing their partners to the class.

Other ideas for starting the school year:

Routines: https://sounddiscipline.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/routines-less-stress-more-time/

Starting the school year: https://sounddiscipline.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/getting-started-on-the-almost-perfect-school-year/