Activities on the first day of middle school should put students' minds at ease about the upcoming year and provide them with a chance to get to know one another and the teacher. Teachers should explain to students what they will study during the year and what is expected of them, both academically and behaviorally. Start building a relationship with students and take note of any information they share about themselves. Consider keeping a file of information for each student or class. Include examples of work from various times throughout the year in the file.
Rules and Procedures
Review rules and procedures on the first day of school. Experienced teachers know how important it is to establish rules and procedures early in the year and reinforce those the first few weeks of school. Passing out a list of rules and procedures to middles school students on the first day of class is nearly pointless. Students won't read it, but will stick it in a binder or lose it within a week. Spend time reviewing classroom procedures and pointing out important classroom locations such as where to turn in homework. Consider reviewing the rules and procedures as a jeopardy game or scavenger hunt, asking students to locate or perform procedures to win points for their team.
Provide students with KWL charts to complete. You, the teacher, are the subject of the KWL chart, encouraging students to get to know you better. Ask students to fill in the information they know under the "K" column. Prompt them with things like how many children you have or what type of car you drive. Encourage students to complete the "want to know" information under the "W" column. Give them ideas like what type of music you listen to or some of your favorite sports. Write a list of interesting facts about yourself such as where you went to college, your favorite color and your favorite holiday. Cut the list into single strips of paper and place in a jar. Ask one student to select a fact and illustrate the fact for the class. The student who successfully guesses the fact illustrates the next fact. Students keep track of the learned information under the "L" column.
Divide students into small groups to get to know each other. Ask one student in the group to act as the leader and tell the students to sit in a circle. Give the leader a list of topics such as, "A person I admire is," "I enjoy/dislike" or "Someday, I hope to." The leader selects a topic and starts by sharing thoughts on the selected topic. Each member offers a quick response so other students can get to know them. Rotate students to different groups so all classmates can become acquainted. Continue this activity throughout the year with topics relating to class studies, world events or the time of the year.
Erica Green has been a freelance journalist since 2008. She has contributed to the Atlantic Publishing Company, Texas Sports, Confessions of a Homeowner and more. Green is currently pursuing a degree in Spanish, and she tutors English Language Learner students. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas and is a certified middle school teacher.