I usually do some kind of get-to-know-you homework activity, but everything I've tried another grade does too, so the kids are like "oh, we did this last year." I want to make it something different. So, I was curious what you all do for a get-to-know-you homework activity on the first or second day of school.
I have my kids do "Me Squares" during the first week of school. Basically I give them a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper - solid colors- and tell them to decorate it with pictures, quotes, drawings, anything they can think of that describes them. Then each day, a few people present their squares and tell why they included the items on the square. I have certain requirements and send home a paper telling parents that they should not have to buy anything to decorate the square. It is always a fun project and allows the kids to be really creative.
This is the annual "first day of school homework/activity" that I do. Sometime during the day, usually at the beginning, I have a bag of 10 items that somehow describe me or represent something I like/hobbies/etc. For example, I have a baggie of shells because I love the beach, a dachshund stuffed animal, my fav. candy bar wrapper, etc...you get the idea. I pull each item out and describe to the kids why it describes me. They love hearing a little bit about me since they really don't know me at all. Then it's their homework that night to find between 5-10 items to put in a bag that represent them in some way. The next day they come in all excited to share! I usually put them into groups of 5 or so and give them some time to share with each other. Then they pick the very most important item (it's hard to choose, but I make them pick only 1) and write about it and why it's important to them, etc...
That's usually the only homework I give them on the first day. I'm trying to remember if there is anything else...maybe some math facts sheet or something to brush up on math. I do find that the sooner I get them into a routine with normal homework, the easier it is to keep them on the right track. Hope this helps!
i normally read the book Chrysanthemum on the first day of school, which is about a little girl who gets teased about her name, and at the end of the story she end up loving it. The reason I read this book is because at some point towards the year I usually have some sort of name calling problem and when I refer them back to this activity they usually tend to stop. So, I read them the book and tell them that their homework is to ask their parents why they were given their name and what it means. I usually provide a website to look up the meaning. Then the next day we come in and share our stories. It is pretty interesting and helps us to appreciate everyone's individuality, especially for those names you have never heard of before.
I really like this idea. I have been struggling with new ideas too. The kids have already done numerous collages and they do the bag activity in 4th grade. I think this one is great because you can put all of the squares together and have a nice class book. Thanks for the idea!
Here are the directions that I send home along with a 12x12 piece of solid colored scrapbook paper. Before I send the directions home, I introduce myself using a square I made. I have pictures of my pets, family, some stickers, magazine cutouts, handwritten quotes, etc. I make sure that everything I have on the square is something I have laying around my house. I am sure to tell students that they don't have to buy anything to complete their square. The directions say at least 7 objects, but I tell students really their squares should be filled. When the squares come back, I staple them in a quilt pattern to a bulletin board with a title about getting to know each other. You can then take the squares and make them into a book quite easily.
FYI - I teach at a Christian school, so you may have to modify some of the directions
Thank you for the square idea. I teach 3rd grade and always did the me bag project, but our new 4th grade teacher does that with her class and I don't want the students to have the same experience again the next year.
I loved the template. My theme is owls, so I am changing it to "Owl About Me" and the students will be decorating owl cut outs to go on our bulletin board.