The first day of school is usually a mixture of business and pleasure. As the teacher, you have to establish the classroom rules and procedures right off the bat, but you also want to give the students a chance to relax and get to know you and each other. Start the new school year off right by planning some fun first day of school activities for your fourth graders.
Surprise your students with a pop quiz on the first day of school -- but in a good way. Create a quiz about you, the teacher. List true or false statements, such as "Mrs. Name once bungee-jumped off a bridge." Create a section of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions where the students can guess your age, favorite sports team, and other similar things about you. Grade the quiz and give a prize to the student or students who have the most number of correct answers. This activity is a great way for the students to quickly get to know -- and feel more comfortable with -- their new teacher.
Nine- and 10-year-olds often have strong dislikes and likes -- that can change in an instant. Create time capsules on the first day of school to record the students' favorite things. Open them on the last day of school and listen to the laughter ensue. Include items such as a string of yarn that is as long as they are tall, a self-portrait, a list of each child's favorite song, movie, television show and foods, and what they hope to learn during the upcoming school year. Place the items in a small box, paper towel tube, or folder and put them away until the end of the school year.
Have the students fold a piece of paper in half four times, then unfold it. They will now have a piece of paper with 16 squares. Then, have them randomly fill in the squares with the words you tell them. For example, have them choose one square and write "has one sister" or "has a dog." They will need to write small! Continue along these lines until they all have the 16 squares filled. Then, have them go around the room and find people who match the squares. When they find a person who matches, have them cross off the square. The first person or people to get four in a row wins a prize. This is a fun way for the students to find out more about each other.
Create a crossword puzzle to review the rules and procedures of your classroom. Pass out the puzzles after you've discussed the rules and let the children work in pairs or alone, depending on how much time you have to do the activity. For example, one of the clues might be, "This is how many times you are allowed to get a drink during the day," with the answer being "three." Give a small prize to the student or students who finish it first. This is also a good option for homework on the first day, as it allows the students to discuss the class rules with their parents. If you are sending it home for homework, also include a copy of the rules and procedures.