It’s important to welcome students and make them feel comfortable as soon as they step foot into the classroom. School is a place where students spend the majority of their day so it should feel like their second home. Here are the top 6 ways to welcome students back to school after a long summer break.
Send Home a Welcome Packet
A few weeks before school starts, send home a welcome letter. Include information about yourself and include things like: how many pets you have, if you have children, things you like to do outside of school. This will help the students connect with you on a personal level. Also include specific information in the packet such as supplies needed, the expectations you have for them throughout the year, class schedule and rules, etc. This welcome packet will help put students at ease and help alleviate those first day jitters that they might have.
Create an Inviting Classroom
One of the easiest ways to welcome students is to create an inviting classroom. This is a place where students are going to spend six hours a day, five days a week. Your classroom should feel warm and inviting from the first second they enter the door. A great way for students to feel like their classroom is "theirs" is to have them help you decorate it and add their own personal touch. During the first weeks back to school, encourage students to create drawings and projects that can be displayed in the classroom.
Conduct a Teacher Interview
Although you have provided a tad bit of information about yourself in the welcome packet, students may still have a few questions of their own. On the first day of school have students partner up and prepare a few questions for a personal interview with you. Once each interview is over, gather the class as a whole and have each team choose their favorite question and answer to share with the rest of the class.
Provide a Story
Beginning on the first day of school, set the mood each morning with a story. The first few weeks, students may be feeling uneasy and may be feeling insecure. To alleviate these feelings and let students know that they are not feeling alone, choose a different story each morning. Books are a great way to open up communication about how the students are feeling. Here are a few recommended books to use during the first week of school.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
To help students become familiar with their new classroom, have a scavenger hunt. For younger students, create a list with pictured clues that they need to find and check off as they go. Include items such as find the puzzles, book corner, cubbie, ect. For the older students create a checklist and list things such as look for the homework basket, look for the class rules, ect. Continue with items to find in and around the classroom. Once the scavenger hunt is completed, have them hand their completed sheet in for a prize. This is a great activity for students to get acquainted with their classroom and learn where everything goes.
Provide Ice Breaker Activities
The first day of school can be very awkward when students do not recognize any familiar faces. To "break the ice" and thaw out some of the first day jitters, provide a few fun activities.