Monday, July 29, 2013

First Day Activity Idea

I found a fun activity on Education World last year when I was looking for a way to get one of my more unruly classes to practice listening and following directions. You can pass it off as a game, which automatically will pique the interest of some of your harder-to-engage kids.

Each student receives a slip of paper with an instruction: When they hear/see someone else doing X, that is their cue to follow with Y. For example:
After somebody stands up and does five jumping jacks, then you will clap your hands four times.
Last year, I created a Prezi to introduce myself and go over class rules. I tried to use eye-catching Creative-Commons-licensed photos (the dog and the toilet paper did elicit reactions), but looking at a presentation is only so interactive, even when I'm asking the kids related questions.

So this year, I am going to use the information - as well as some location reminders - as part of the game, and have everyone in grades 3-6 play it on the first day. For example:
After somebody walks to the return cart and says, "This is where you return your books if you miss morning pickup," then you will go to Ms. Moore's desk and hold up the sign-out log.
We'll be practicing listening and following directions (most of them need a LOT of practice in these areas!), as well as working in some physical activity. And perhaps some whole-class discussion in case we need to do "colder / warmer" for the kids who forgot where to find anything in the room. Then we'll recap with an updated Prezi for those kids who need visuals.

It really helps that this is my first year RETURNING to schools rather than starting at new ones, so the kids have already (supposedly) learned my rules and routines. We'll see how many times we need to play the game before everyone has remembered them!

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This work by Meredith C. Moore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.