I seem to think about the first week of school ALL summer. I know…call me crazy. It’s my favorite part of the school year. There’s so much excitement and buzz around the school and everyone is full of new ideas and activities to implement in the weeks ahead.
Having a theme going into the first week of school is always fun and exciting! Last year we did a “HAPPY NEW SCHOOL YEAR!” theme. It was so easy to find New Years decorations like 2018 balloons, noise makers, and new year headbands.
The students walked into the classroom to find huge 2017 balloons waiting for them! This got some major buzz going throughout the room. Students that weren’t even mine would poke their head in to see what was going on! 🙂
On my bulletin board I had stapled balloons for each hour (that they weren’t in PE or lunch) of the day. Inside these balloons were different activities I had planned. We would have done these activities anyways, but popping the balloon to find out what we were doing was WAY more fun. I chose a student who had been following directions well to pop each balloon. The activities inside included a minute to win it game called cookie face, a getting to know you game called Find Someone Who, school tour, team building activity, and new year resolutions:
- I’m sure you’ve seen the game cookie face before. Students each got a cookie and placed it on their forehead. They had one minute to get the cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands! & in the end…everyone has a nice little snack!
- Find Someone Who is a game we play every year to get students up, moving, and talking to each other. First, I discuss with my class how we are a family. You don’t get to choose your family, you don’t always like your family, but for this entire school year we are stuck with each other. I talk to them about making friends and then quickly discuss how to introduce themselves to one another. We practice shaking hands and looking each other in the eye etc. Then I finally let them free to mingle. They find commonalities after introducing themselves to each other with a quick handshake. When they find someone who can complete the box they may color it in OR you can have them write the name of their new friend in the box. Hopefully they make some new friends or learn some new things about old ones.
- When we pop the balloon for “New Year Resolutions” I start by showing this Kid President Video. Then we discuss the year ahead and what we expect to learn and what we expect of ourselves. On the whiteboard I did my best at writing “New Year Resolutions.” Next, each student got a sticky note and wrote about their goals for their third grade year, posting them around the whiteboard.
- The school tour is pretty self explanatory! We first practice lining up and then venture out in the hallway to explore and discuss the different areas of our school. This is also a great time to practice hallway behavior and lunch procedures.
- Team building activities are my favorite. I’ve done the “Saving Fred” activity for several years. You give students a worm (Fred), a gummy lifesaver (life preserver), 2 paper clips, and a cup (boat). Students have to work together with partners to save Fred using the paper clips to get “Fred” into the “life preserver” and on top of the “boat”! They may not touch Fred or the life preserver with their hands. —-always interesting & and you find out a lot about your kiddos!
For the last hour of the day, we didn’t pop a balloon…we had a full blown countdown to the upcoming school year and a balloon drop!! I have to admit..it was a little crazy in my room & I’m sure they heard the screams and noisemakers from the office. BUUUUT I loved it…and there’s no doubt my students had something to tell their parents about when they went home that day! HERE is a great countdown to use.
To make the balloon drop I blew up SEVERAL balloons. I then cut open 2-4 garbage bags–depending on how big you want your drop to be. I first taped these bags to each other. After taping them together, I taped around them to the ceiling, leaving one end open. Finally…I stuffed the balloons into the opening and closed it up with tape. After the countdown pull one side down to release the balloons.
Find this simple-editable balloon pop activity on my TPT site HERE! It’s FREE.
Happy New School Year!!