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How-To: Get Started

More First Day of School Ideas Lisa Kihn

Door Decoration

  1. On a large piece of butcher paper cut out the number of the grade you teach. Try to make this number as big as your classroom door. For example, I teach sixth grade and so I cut out a giant 6.
  2. Cut this number into puzzle pieces that the children can reassemble to form that number.

  3. Have this “puzzle piece” on each desk as your students walk in. Ask students to write their name on the piece and add pictures or words that describe them. Decorate nicely with markers. For example, I wrote my name in the center and added a picture of a book, a mountain and a smiling face. I explained to the class that I chose these symbols because they describe me. I like to read, hike in the mountains and I consider myself a happy person who likes to smile. 
  4. Ask your students to share their pieces with the class and then work on the floor to put the pieces together to form the number. Tape it together and put it on your classroom door.


This activity is similar to the one above, except that you ask students to make a nametag that can sit on their desk.

  1. Fold a piece of construction paper in half so that it can stand up on a desk.
  2. Ask students to write their name (or any nicknames they like to be called) on the front. On the back have them write several words or phrases that describe them. Show an example, (see above).
  3. Have students share their nametags with the class. Keep them on their desks for the first week of school, until you learn everybody’s name.

Introduction Game

This is a great activity to do on the first day with new students who may not all know each other.

  1. Have students pair up with each other and choose someone that they don’t already know.
  2. Give students two minutes to find out the other person’s name and then three things that they have in common. They must talk fast!
  3. I usually model this activity by bringing a volunteer up, asking his name and then quickly asking him questions such as, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” “Do you have any pets?” Where were you born?” “What is your favorite subject in school?” “What is your favorite food?” “What sports do you play?” etc.
  4. After completing this activity, ask partners to introduce each other and share the things they had in common with the class.
  5. At the very end you can see if there were any things that the entire class had in common.


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