At the start of every new school year, forming connections and building classroom community is something that’s at the forefront of every educator’s mind. While developing rapport with students certainly takes time, there are many small actions teachers can take right at the start of the school year to begin this work. If you need some fresh ideas to liven up your daily routine, check out TpT’s back-to-school activity calendar for a whole month’s worth of activities you can use for all grade levels.
30 Ideas and Activities for Back to School
Teachers can use the ideas from this back-to-school activity calendar to start or end each day, to build relationships, and to integrate social-emotional learning into the classroom.
- Describe Yourself with an Emoji. Introduce yourself by using (or drawing) an emoji.
- Name It. Provide students with a short text. Have them read the text and come up with a title.
- Take a Bunny Breath. Take 3 quick sniffs in through the nose, and one long exhale out through the mouth.
- Dance Party! Show off your dance moves for one minute.
- Scribble Game. Create a blank Easel Activity and draw a scribble. Assign it to students and give them two minutes to turn it into a drawing.
- Interview a Classmate. Get into pairs and interview your partner. Bonus: present what you learned to the class or write a short bio.
- Science Warm-Up. Describe 3 ways you could prove the wind was blowing to the north.
- Practice Bubble Breathing. Imagine you are blowing bubbles as you breathe in and out 10ten times.
- Run in Place. Run in place for 15 seconds.
- Hot Potato. Pass a small object around the room (or draw names online) and say a different fruit or vegetable.
- End-of-the-Day Exit Slip. What is one thing you hope to improve this week?
- Wise Words. Show students a quote. Ask them to reflect on its meaning, if they agree, and/or how it relates to their life or the world.
- Perform a Body Scan. Close your eyes. Starting from your head and moving down to your toes, notice each body part and any sensations.
- Touch Your Toes. Touch your toes 10 times.
- Number Guess. Get into pairs and think of a number 1-10. Challenge your partner to guess what number you’re thinking of.
- Blobs & Lines. Line up in order (e.g., by birthdays) or gather in blobs based on something you share (e.g., same favorite season).
- Group Story Time. Write the first sentence of a story on a blank page in Easel Activities. Call on students to pick up where the story leaves off.
- Gratitude Exercise. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
- First Name Game. Make the shape of the letter of your first name with your body.
- Riddle Me This. What belongs to you, but others use it far more often than you use it? (Answer: Your Name)
- The Compliments Project. Take turns being in the “hot seat” while classmates write compliments on the board behind the chosen student them.
- Guess My Age. Write a math problem or series of math problems that students can solve to guess your age.
- Just Listen. Close your eyes and notice what you’re hearing. Open your eyes and jot down what you heard.
- Nature Walk. Take a stroll outdoors and use your 5 senses to observe your surroundings.
- Say It in Six. Write a real-life story or memoir in 6 words.
- Review Class Rules. Create an interactive quiz with Easel Assessments to learn class rules.
- Save Our Resources. Brainstorm a list of ways you could save water or electricity at home.
- Stand and Stretch. Stand up and stretch your arms. Inhale as you raise your arms and exhale as you lower them.
- True or False. Read several statements aloud. If it’s true, do a jumping jack. If it’s false, jog in place.
- Would You Rather? Ask students: “Would you rather have a pet snake or a pet spider?”
Discover more ideas and activities for the first month of school on TpT.