It's time for pencils, it's time for books. It's time for teachers' dirty looks. It's back-to-school time! Here are five classroom projects that will help students re-acclimate to the school environment and instill a sense of team building and promise.
Classroom Projects: Best School Year Kick-Offs
Can you hear the lockers slamming and the screaming of eager youth? Can you smell the school lunch? Yes, that's right, it's back to school time!
Students have an abundance of energy at the start of the school year. Channeling their excitement into project-based learning can provide the perfect opportunity for student collaboration and promote creativity. Keep reading for five classroom projects that will help your students transition into the new school year with ease and anticipation.
1. Vision Boards
Have your students create a collage, or vision board, using old magazines and other art materials. A vision board project can help students reflect on their summer vacations and their previous semesters, as well as set goals for the current school year. Invite students to present their projects to their peers in groups or before the entire class. When sharing their vision boards, students can ask and answer questions and discuss various sub-topics while building self-esteem and a sense of togetherness.
2. ''Who Am I?'' Partner Project
Using a collaborative learning approach, divide students into pairs. Students then take turns introducing themselves to their partners, as the partners listen and take notes.
Once the first student to take a turn has finished speaking, have the partners switch roles. Then have each student describe his or her partner to the class. However, instead of saying, ''My partner is…'' they share the information as if they are their partners and say, ''I am.'' This project encourages empathy and gives students a chance to walk in another's shoes.
3. Door Decorating & Design Contest
Choose a back-to-school power phrase for your classroom. Then use the phrase as a theme for a door-decorating contest. Encourage friendly competition by organizing students into small groups of no more than five members. Invite other teachers and staff members to judge and select a winner. Decorate your door using the chosen design, having all of the students participate.
4. Classroom Garden
School gardens are beneficial to both individual students and the entire classroom, as students must work together and use their personal knowledge and willingness to cultivate the land. Be sure to research which seeds and crops will be the most successful in your area and climate.
Reach out to local businesses and parents to donate tools, seeds, soil, or other supplies. If students are allowed and able to take items from the garden home, it will connect the classroom with students' families, making the project even more impactful. Also be sure to get permission from your school/district before initiating the project, as there may be rules or guidelines that you will need to follow.
5. Reflection and Intention Wall
Take a large sheet of butcher paper and divide it into four sections: 1) academic goal(s), 2) personal goal(s), 3) moments of joy from the summer, and 4) lessons learned. Then give students four sheets of paper, each a different color, to correspond with the four sections. Once students have answered each question, add their answers to the wall in the appropriate section.
Some students may shy away from sharing, while others will jump at the chance when first asked. Allow for anonymity and adequate time for students who want to share and be sure to give feedback on the displayed lessons and goals. If space permits, leave the wall up throughout the school year as a reminder of each student's journey. This project is appropriate for groups of all ages and helps students reflect on their progress and steps made toward their goals.
Click on ''Teacher Resources'' on Study.com to find information about back-to-school and year-round classroom activities that are guaranteed to help you start the school year on the right foot.