Between teaching routines, testing, testing and more testing, it is also important to have fun and get to know your new students! Because I start the school year with students of all levels, including ELLs, I like to have no-stress, frustration-free activities ready for them on those first few days. It is a bonus if they can be used to decorate my empty bulletin boards and make the classroom start to look like their own! Three of my favorite activities to complete are an All About Me Book, Back to School Glyphs, and a Class Puzzle Display. The resources (free and paid) can be found in my store.
1. ALL ABOUT ME BOOK
This is a fun, stress-free activity that helps you and your students get to know each other while allowing you to sneakily assess your students’ spelling and writing skills. It’s a win, win! It is also a great independent activity that allows you to have the class working while you administer one-on-one or small group assessments.
I like to have a model book done that I go through with the students to let them learn about me first. The example was very time consuming, but when the model is done well, it gets students motivated to put more effort into creating their own book.
The image above is from my free All About Me title page, along with 3 writing templates. The complete All About Me Book comes with 12 writing templates including ELL/Immigrant specific pages.
2. BACK TO SCHOOL GLYPHS
My students love glyphs! They are a great way for your students to get to know fun facts about each other, while also creating crafts to decorate a seasonal bulletin board. I love having student work to put up right away. It begins to make the classroom their own piece of “home” so these are perfect for that! If time allows, I try to then analyze the data from our glyphs, making the activity even more meaningful.
3. CLASS PUZZLE DISPLAY
This puzzle is a class favorite! Each student gets one puzzle piece. I tell them to draw a picture of themselves and then decorate with words and images that describe them. You can be more/less specific in how you want them decorated. It is a great classroom community building craft that makes a great bulletin board or door display.