The past few years, I’ve tried different activities every new first day of school. We’ve done Jon Gordon’s One Word, we’ve played Breakout, and this year…
I started with a set of 52 missions to give students a huge variety of choices. Four of those missions were required ones, such as logging into Google Classroom and setting up their classroom mailbox.
Then (after warning the students not to interrupt classes–which was moderately successful), the students were able to complete other missions, such as finding their favorite spot in the library, making up a group dance, taking a selfie with a teacher, taking a photo of a freshman-sophomore-junior-senior grouping, and finding a senior photo of a staff member (several of our staff members and teachers graduated from our high school, so this one is especially fun!)
I gave them three days to complete as many missions as they could, and then the winners earned dibs to the class couch for the next week.
What was awesome? Everything!
- All the other teachers spent the first day going over rules. We had fun. (Sure, we went over the syllabus a few days later. We’re still setting up routines and expectations. But you know what? I still haven’t needed to talk about rules. They’ve been in school many years. They know them.)
- I was able to watch and observe them, see who chose to work alone and who worked with a partner. I could see who the leaders were and who tended to be followers. A couple of times I noticed behavior I didn’t 100% approve of and addressed it before it developed.
- This built some great teamwork and memories, and it set the tone for our class–that we’re in this together.
I admit–to pull this off, I purchased the education version of GooseChase, but kids have already been asking me when we can play another one (It’s Monday–the game just finished Friday!).
And we definitely will play again. I can use this for finding context clues in reading, as a way to show evidence of a writing skill, or an example of vocabulary words out in the wild.