The Back-to-School season is exciting for everyone, but it can also be a little bit nerve-wracking for new students who want to make a good impression, but may be hesitant about diving in to the group.
One of the best ways to make everybody feel welcome and involved is to engage them in activities that require collaboration and teamwork. Here are several great ideas for projects that can make everyone feel comfortable.
Take a group photo and have it made into a plate or mug.
The beginning of the school year is when everybody arrives looking their best. Haircuts are fresh, school clothes are new, and everyone is well rested from the summer. It’s a great time to take a couple of group shots so you can compare how students change during the course of the year.
Get the kids to design and decorate a banner for them to hold that displays the room number and date, then take a smiling photo and a silly one and let the students vote on which they prefer. You can get the photo made into a plate that can be hung on the wall of the room. You’ll be amazed at how often they check back during the year, pointing out new haircuts or missing teeth.
Create and Decorate Planters and Plant Seeds
This is a great ice-breaker and a science lesson as well. Have each child create their own planter and then let them choose from a variety of seeds to plant, identifying each one on the planter along with the child’s name. Make sure that you have a variety of seasonal blooms represented so that there is always something new coming up. Students will have fun comparing notes on their plant’s progress, and it’s a great way to teach about seasons, germination, the need to provide water and sun, and more.
Create a Memory Mailbox
Build a letter drop box out of cardboard or a decorative box, and explain to the students that each week they will be invited to write little notes about their favorite activity of the week and drop it into the box. You can start with a first-day-of-school memory when you explain the project, or students can each create a decoration for the exterior of the box with their name on it.
This is a great way to introduce them to each other, as they can tell their name and explain their design. At the end of the year, you can have fun picking memories out of the box and revisiting your classroom experiences.
Don’t forget to have that personalized plate made for the whole class!
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