Complete teaching bundles for incredible prices

How To Build Community During The First Week Of School

The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Try these fun ideas and activities for the first week of school and beyond.
The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Try these fun ideas and activities for the first week of school and beyond.

The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Be prepared to use the beginning of the year to set up classroom expectations and rules, get to know students and build community in your classroom. Try these ideas for the first week of school and beyond.

Set expectations during the first week of school

It’s a new year, a fresh start. You may have the same rules, expectations, and routines year after year, but it’s all new to your class. Establishing expectations of behavior early sets the tone for the rest of the year.

There’s a lot to cover, and you’ll go into more depth about certain expectations as you encounter new situations, but for the first week, you should cover your classroom rules. State these clearly and make a poster for the room. You’ll also want to address consequences for not following rules.

In addition, go over procedures and expected behavior for:

  • Leaving and coming into the room (either for the day or to move to another part of the school)
  • Lining up and walking in a line
  • Giving you attention when you are speaking—and how you will get their attention (perhaps by a chime, a particular clap or a saying such as “1-2-3, eyes on me”)
  • Working during lessons
  • Indicating that they want to ask a question or respond

Teach, model and practice these behaviors during the first week of school and those that follow. Effective classroom management starts the first week of school.

Get to know each other during the first week of school

The first week of school is also a time for getting to know you activities. You want to get to know each student—and help them get to know each other.

You can actually start using getting to know you activities before the first week of school. Use a back to school letter to let students know a little bit about you and what to expect in the coming school year. You can also ask them to come to school with a photo, drawing, or small object that is special to them—a picture of something fun they did over the summer, a drawing of them and their pet, or a feather from their collection would be perfect.

On the first day of school, smile and introduce yourself. Tell them some things you like to do in and out of school. Ask them to introduce themselves and tell one simple thing like their favorite color or animal.

Use name tags at tables and on cubbies. If you can, add a picture to them to help start matching names and faces. During the first week, play games or use open activities that help everyone learn names.

Beyond names, you’ll want to get to know your students and help them get to know each other.

Use activities that will help your students share information about themselves and get to know each other a little bit more. Activities like self-portraits, All About Me cubes, and Student of the Week sharing can help. Get plenty of ideas for getting to know you in the Back to School Pack.

The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Try these fun ideas and activities for the first week of school and beyond.

Create a learning community during the first week of school

If you’ve established rules and expectations and started to get to know each other, you are already on your way to establishing a learning community in your classroom. To further this, involve students in rule making and talk about things like how to show respect for others, how to respond when somebody says or does something you don’t like, and how to be a good friend.

The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Try these fun ideas and activities for the first week of school and beyond.

Hold a morning meeting that includes greeting the person on either side of you (this is a good way to learn names, but can be used beyond that). Allow time for students to share something about themselves. This might take the form of show and tell or announcements about exciting events like a goal in soccer or a visit to their grandparents.

Give students jobs. This helps build a sense of responsibility and allows everyone to contribute to the classroom community. Use classroom job charts and change jobs regularly.

Catch kids following the rules or procedures. Let them know you noticed. Take time to notice people being kind, helpful, and considerate. This could be part of your end of day routine, included in any circle time, or simply made on the spot as it happens. If you have a regular sharing time, you can allow time for students to share these moments as well (“Liam helped me when I dropped my papers.” or “Maysie got help when I fell on the playground.”)

You can’t fully build community during the first week of school, but you can set the groundwork and continue to build on it during the rest of the year. Starting community building and expectation setting early can really set the tone for your year.

And if you want even more first week of school activities to start off the year right, grab this free sample:

FREE Back To School Activities

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular teaching tips and updates & get instant access to the Back to School Activities PDF:

Powered by ConvertKit

If you’re after activities and resources to help you build community, like getting to know you activities, being a friend activities, job charts, and more, the Back to School Bundle has you covered. You get 11 resources for over 450-pages of ready to use materials!

Resources include

  • Back to school activities to help your students get to know each other and transition back to school.
  • Classroom Games to re-energize students and get them back on track for learning.
  • Classroom Job Charts in four different themes, plus Halloween and Spring job charts.
  • The Physical Education Pack with 35 lesson ideas to last you all year long.
  • 3 packs of phonics games
  • Math games and activities
  • Classroom posters.

Get your Back to School Bundle here and be ready for the first week of school and beyond!

What’s your best tip for building community during the first week of school?

The first week of school can shape the rest of the school year. Be prepared to use the beginning of the year to set up classroom expectations and rules, get to know students and build community in your classroom. Try these fun ideas and activities for the first week of school and beyond. #teacherresources #teachertips #classroommanagement #teacherorganization #classroomorganization #backtoschool

FREE Back To School Activities

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular teaching tips and updates & get instant access to the Back to School Activities PDF:

Powered by ConvertKit

Related Articles

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

two × two =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This