Not Another Syllabus! TEN Refreshing Back to School Activities to Try

When students enter our classrooms on the first day of school, we know that more often than not, they didn’t necessarily choose to be in our class. The first day of school is our opportunity to make them feel lucky to be in our class. Wouldn’t it be awesome if our students went home after the first day/week of school and bragged to their parents or friends about how awesome your class was?! Sure the syllabus needs to be reviewed, the rules are important, and the seating chart matters. But if they’re doing that in six other classes, are they really going to remember ours?

We have the opportunity to start building relationships the first day… why not start there and save the rules for another day?

Create a Selfie Padlet Wall

Station Rotation Survey

Write a Letter

Have students write a letter to themselves. Similar to the letter to you (their teacher), students can write about their goals, their fears, promises to themselves, etc. You can file them away and revisit them with a student if he/she is needing a little encouragement throughout the year. Then you can return the letters to them at the end of the year and have them talk about what they accomplished, what they still need to work on, etc.


Make a Fingerprint Collage

I came across this idea on Twitter and fell in love with it! Have students brainstorm a list of things that are important to them, things that make them unique, then have them copy those words onto an outline of a fingerprint to hang on the wall or put on the inside of their notebook or binder. Read all about the activity on this blog.

Do a Classroom or Campus “FlipHunt”

Best Class I Ever Had

Four Corners — Get to Know You

This is an excellent activity from Rebekah Hinkle to get students moving around and discussing ideas. Check out this slide deck and make a copy if you wish. Essentially you lace the letters A, B, C, and D in the four corners of the room. For each slide, have students stand in the corner that best represents their answer. As the questions get deeper, have those standing near each other discuss why they chose that answer. (This set of slides was originally designed for a teacher PD, so you may have to change a few slides to work with students.)

HyperDoc / Self-Guided Tour of Classroom

Looking for more ideas about the first days of school? Check out this article “What NOT to Do the First Day of School.



Digital Learning Specialist at Klein Cain High School

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