Lesson Plan Ideas for the First Day of School

Instructor: Leah Salyer
The first day of school, in any grade, is often a day for 'ice breaker' activities. Rather than delving too deeply into the material for the school year, there are many possible ways that a teacher can approach the first day of school through getting-to-know-you activities.

Possible Lesson Plans

  • Classroom Constitution: Allowing students to take part in designing a classroom constitution is a great way to break the ice and help the students settle into the classroom on the first day. Students can work together to come up with a maximum of 5 classroom rules that they believe are fair and that all students should follow. They can use art materials to write their rules down on poster board to be displayed around the room.
  • Read-Along: In this lesson, you may start by reading a book to the class about a family and what they did on vacation or over the summer. Once the reading is over, students may write 5 sentences about their own summer vacations or you could put a spin on it and have them write 5 sentences about their dream vacations. This lesson can be modified in many ways and can be used for a variety of age levels.
    • This chapter on Writing Prompts may give the teacher some ideas on how to incorporate writing into this lesson based on the grade level.
  • Take as Much as You Want: For this activity, the teacher assembles students into a circle and passes around a roll of toilet paper, or something similar. The students are told to take as much as they want while not yet knowing why. After everyone has taken as much as they want, the teacher will go around the circle telling each student to tell the class something about themselves for each piece of toilet paper they took.
    • For more first day of school activities, take a look at's chapter on Motivation in Learning. This chapter offers a few lessons on getting to know you activities for different age groups.
  • Unique Bingo: Have students make a list of what they think makes them unique. Once they've completed the list, the teacher will make bingo cards with a square for each child writing one of their traits from their list in the square. Students must then ask each other questions trying to find out which trait matches which student. Once a trait is matched to a student, the student's initials go in the box.
  • Sticker Partners: When students arrive at school, the teacher will give each of them a sticker. Later, they will have to find the student that has a sticker that matches theirs. They must then interview each other. Once the interviews are complete the students will tell the class what they learned about their new teammate.

More Resources

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