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First Day of Kindergarten Activity Ideas

Instructor: Derek Hughes
The first day of kindergarten is a big moment for your students. This lesson will detail some activities you can use to help your students settle into their new classroom and school routine.

The First Day of Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is an incredibly important time for both your students and you. This is the time when classroom routines and expectations should be set for students. First-day-of-kindergarten-activities can help your students get acquainted with you, one another, and the classroom rules, expectations, and routines.

This lesson will detail several activities you can use as you move through the first day to help your students adjust to their new classroom. These activities will provide the framework for things you can do in your classroom and can be modified to suit your needs.

Introduction Activity

After your students have entered the classroom, put their belongings where they should go, and settled into seats, the first thing you can (and should do) is engage the class in an ice breaker/introduction activity. It's important for your students to get to know and be comfortable with each other, and this activity will help them to do so.

All you need for this activity is a ball of yarn and your students sitting in a circle. Start by explaining to your student that they are going to do something to help them get to know you and each other.

You will start the activity by grabbing the yarn at its end, introducing yourself, and telling one fun fact about yourself to the class. Then, roll the ball of yarn to another student, ask them to grab the yarn, repeat what you just said, and add their name and a fun fact. This process will continue as each student rolls the ball of yarn to another, and the new student should recall the previous student's name and fun fact, then add their own.

By the end of this activity, you will have a complicated web of yarn with you and your students each holding a point around the outside. Ask your students to carefully stand up so that everyone is helping to hold your web of yarn. Finally, explain to your students that this activity helped them get to know each other and also showed them how they are all going to work together to learn in the upcoming year.

Writing the Classroom Rules

After you are done with the introduction activity, ask your students to remain sitting in the group while you go to get a large notepad. You can also use a classroom whiteboard or chalkboard, so long as you can write big enough for the students to see. For this activity, you and your students are going to spend some time writing the rules for your classroom.

Explain to your students that you all need classroom rules to help everyone have fun safely and learn better. Then, start a group discussion asking students what they think some classroom rules should be. It might take some time to get your brand new students to volunteer, but they will eventually offer some great ideas.

Hopefully, students will offer some suggestions such as 'raise your hand,' 'listen while others are talking,' 'stay in your seat,' etc. If there are some rules you think should be written down but aren't being offered, lead your students with some questions. For example, if no one has mentioned 'listen while others are talking,' ask them what they think everyone should do while the teacher is talking.

In the end, you should have a student-created list of classroom rules. These rules should stay posted in a visible spot all year so that students will see them often. The benefit of having students help write the rules is that they feel more ownership and responsibility for the rules and will be more likely to follow them and enforce them with other classmates.

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