That first day of school can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. Break the ice with children and you set the year off to a great start. Icebreakers are vital to the equation. You are nervous, as perhaps it’s the first time you meet these children. All good teachers do have built in nervousness at the beginning of a new year, and it is this awareness that keeps a teacher’s skills honed. Use this opportunity to get to know the children in your class, and the term starts off in the most positive way that it can.
Personality activities allow a teacher to get to know the strengths and weaknesses in character of their new pupils. When you open up an activity of introduction, this also gives the teacher a great idea of who is who in the pack. There will always be nervous children and those with lesser ability to converse with others. Ask children to introduce themselves to the class, letting the rest of the class know their name and what kind of things they are interested in. This helps the children to get over that initial shock of being in a class with kids they don’t know.
Gather the children together and ask them to tell the class about their vacations. This can take the form of speaking to the class, or doing a drawing which challenges the child. Ask them if they were to put the mood of their holiday into picture form, what would the picture show? Each child will have different ideas which can be discussed once the pictures are done. This is a great icebreaker because the kids respond readily, being asked to do something which is easy to recall.
Stepping stones activity
This is a great one for teachers to introduce the class to what to expect for the coming term. On a bulletin board, you can have footprints, which are placed by students as and when they pass certain goals. During this activity, talk to the children about what is coming up in the next term, and ask them what they think of the ideas you have come up with. Let each one of them help out with making the bulletin board colorful and vibrant. Children enjoy competition and the stepping stone idea helps to give them impetus to succeed and gain footsteps on the board so that recognition is clearly shown to all.
To break the ice between students, group projects are best. Gather the class into groups. Ask each group to introduce each other to the kids within that group and to work with them to come up with an idea for a future presentation.
This can be a fun project. Pens and pencils, paper and an eventual target should be made for the children and the more adventurous you can make the project itself, the more the children need to discuss. Perhaps this could cover a class newspaper and a prize given for the best group effort, over the course of several weeks.
Group activities get children accustomed to being together after the long period of vacation and help them to get back into the swing of study.
If a teacher takes notes during the class of things which children have said, they can use this for a quiz at the end of the first day back at school. It’s a great memory test. Tell the children at the beginning of the day that you are testing their memories and that there will be a fun quiz about all the day’s activities at the end of the school day. This gets kids relaxed and enjoying, listening and learning and getting back into education mode.
Children and teachers need to get together with activities of this nature to break the ice between nervous teacher and extra nervous children. Once the ice is broken, the learning begins and the activities done on that first day build relationships between teacher and student, and students and classmates, making the journey an easier one for everyone.