The first week back to school after summer vacation is an adjustment period for any student, but for students who will be attending their first week of high school, the adjustments can be even greater. Not only do they have to adjust to being back in a learning environment, but they also have to adjust to new surroundings and rules. And most of the other students will be older, which can be intimidating for incoming students to a high school. Activities for the first week of high school can help to break the ice and to help students prepare for an academic year of learning.
Using a video camera, have students create video commercials that advertise their favorite books or movies they have seen over the summer. You can also have them break into groups of four so that they can start to develop new friendships. Have the students write a script for what the actors in the commercial will say, which will stress creativity, and have them decide on an appropriate backdrop for the commercial and any background music, which can be played on a portable disc player. This activity helps stir their creative juices and allows them to interact with each other.
Have students read a short story as homework during one of the days in the first week of high school. The following day, hold a class discussion about the story. Encourage students ahead of time to formulate ideas about the story mechanics, such as character motivations and plot twists. You can also assign students to write a brief essay about the story in order to gauge the writing levels of incoming students.
Have the class create a time capsule with answers to questions that you pose. The questions can include topics about media such as, “What is your favorite TV show?” “What is your favorite song?” “What are you most afraid of in high school?” and “What are you most looking forward to in high school?” Have the students write down the answers and file them away into a folder that will be opened at the end of the semester or year. This activity helps to break the ice and can help students explore their feelings.
Have students stand up and introduce themselves to the rest of the class. It can be helpful for shy students for you to prepare a list of topics that they can cover, such as hobbies, favorite shows and books, foods they enjoy, and sports or clubs the student might want to explore.
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."