I know it's only July, but this issue has plagued me for a couple years now. I am looking for something to do with my classes on the first day of school! I teach high school - 5 classes of 30-35 kids each - and aside from the usual 'go over the syllabus' routine, I usually have 30 minutes left of class to do 'getting to know you' stuff. I have done something different almost each year and I'm never really satisfied with it - I am hoping to get some ideas from other high school teachers out there!
Things I have done: 2 Truths & A Lie, Piggly Wiggly, Starburst activity (every kid gets a Starburst and depending on what color they get, they answer question about themselves)
Things I won't do: Getting to know you Bingo (a good idea in theory, but one in which high schoolers have done it many times in many classes and aren't interested in finding someone to match that part of the board - they just get someone to sign it ASAP so they can sit back down - same thing happens when they try to get teachers to do this at professional development!)
Would LOVE some unique, creative ideas to start the school year off right! Thanks!
This is a great discussion topic that by the time school starts should provide you with some interesting "ice breakers." Hope you find the perfect one for next school year. You mention that you teach high school but you don't mention what subject(s) you teach.
I like to use strategy games to challenge my students. I teach Math, Science, and Technology and my goal is to get them thinking and sharing ideas with each other that first day. I have used Illuminations' Product Game and Factor Game to stimulate thinking. Online or offline students students are separated into two groups and take up the challenge. They can even make up their own rules. How cool is that?
One thing I used with high school students was similar to the old game of "on the way to grandma's house" where each student has to remember the name of the other students and the item they brought - but to make it different and actually very fun - we all stood up in a circle around the room - instead of taking something to grandma's house - they had to invent their own motion or pose. As students went around the circle - they had to say the name of each other student and do the motion for that student. By the time we went around the circle we had a very unusual "dance" going on. I did instruct them not to do anything that was inappropriate for school - and they respected that request and enjoyed the time to move around at the end of a long day of listening to syllabi and rules.
I wonder what would be the Wonder of the day on the first day of school? Maybe www.Wonderopolis.org can help with an innovative way to kick of the new school year.
High school kids are just overgrown babies. Give them a cut out of a boy or girl and have them dress it as they are dressed on the first day. Have them write a small biopoem or a short writing about themselves. I think that they will have fun. Post them around the room for others to see and read about.
The first day of school, I always give my students a true/false quiz about myself. They always enjoy finding out different things about me as well as things we may have in common. For example: Mrs. L. is a Yankee fan; Mrs. L. drives a red Corvette; Mrs. L. has three dogs, a turtle, and a chicken; Mrs. L. loves to read autobiographies; - you get the idea! I teach elementary students, but I know a teacher that does this in middle school and it is a big hit.
The first day is the only day to make a first impression. I was a chemistry teacher and on the first day of school I showed/talked about numerous chemical reactions/demonstrations that relate to the "real world" and also things I am passionate about. Use this day as a hook to let kids see why you love to teach (subject area) and why you spent four years or more getting a degree(s) in this subject area. The first day is time to light their fire and let them see yours. So, gather up the best of what you do and what interests you and let them have it. Forget about the syllabus, the kids could care less on the first day, plus they have gone through this drone a number of periods before coming to your class. If you are lucky enough to have them first period, then you will leave an even bigger impression as they go through their "typical" first day; "typical" generally means mind-numbing for the students point of view. If you repost with the subject areas you teach then I am sure you will some excellent suggestions.
Go for it!
Don't be trite but be passionate!
During a recent course I taught on Intel Essentials Web 2.0 tools, I created a wikipage on Back 2 School ideas (http://intelessentialsclass.wikispaces.com/Back+2+School). Perhaps you will find some suggestions there that will work for the first week of school. I have links to some resources dealing with copyright laws and citation methods which are especially good topics for study with high school students.
The Bio-Cube by ReadWriteThink is also a good activity for any age student.