I am teaching 7th and 8th grade Language Arts for the first time this year. What are some good ice breakers to do with my kiddos for the first couple of days? I have previously taught 1st and 4th grade and I really don't think any of those ice breakers will go over well with middle schoolers.
I, too, am teaching 8th for the first time. For 36 yrs I taught 5th and 6th!!! I have come up with a few ideas for the first 2 days. Last year in 6th, I did an I AM poem. You can google it and get examples and a template. I also found a neat project where you have a questionnaire that the kids answer, then they make a collage with pieces that represent their answers, and last they write a one page explanation of why they put what they did on the collage. Two good ways to either assess their writing skills and/or get your first 2 writing grades. I have to retype what I got from the site to make it work for me. http://home.cogeco.ca/~rayser3/whoami2.txt
Hope this helps
I tried this last year in 6th and think I'll try it again. It's a community building activity. It came from the Teachers Helping Teachers website. Activity posted there by Pinky Griffiths
This is a shortened version of the directions.
1 bundle of approx. 40 drinking straws per group
roll of masking tape
Divide class into groups of 4 (3 if necessary, not 5)
Hand out a bundle of 40 straws per group
Give each group a meter (yard) of masking tape
You are going to construct the tallest FREESTANDING structure that you can, using only the straws and tape you have been given.
You will not get more, so use carefully.
You may NOT anchor your structure to a desk or floor with tape.
YOU MUST WORK IN COMPLETE SILENCE DURING THE ENTIRE PROCESS.
If you do talk, a straw will be taken from your group each time you do speak. ( Note for you, taking one straw will not really make a difference, but be strict and a few "sacrificial lambs" will make the silence rule effective!) Tell them there are other ways of communicating other than speech.
Assign a work area for each group.
Give a time limit, say 15 min. then say "Start."
Walk around the room taking straws if necessary and give a 5 then a 2 min. warning. Observe how productive groups work & make a mental note of any actions, both positive and negative to comment on later.
When the time is up, go to the various groups with a couple of meter sticks and measure each one.
Congratulate the winners and commiserate with the rest of the class. Stress process rather than results.
I love the straw tower thing (esp. the silence part!). I think I might try this w/ my 5th graders this year. My son (who is going into 7th) mentioned a similar assignment they had in Science class; he really seemed excited about it.
Thank you for the ideas so far! I have done something similar with straws before. The only difference was that the students had to make an oil derrick that eventually would have to support square weights in grams. I also like the survey idea. I may use both
Thanks for the great straw idea!
I also have a fun name game. I start by saying my name and saying one adjective that describes me. For example .. Laughing Lisa. The next person says their name and an adjective that describes them,plus my name and adjective. For example, I am Athletic Anthony, Laughing Lisa...This continues until we get around the room. I do allow the students to help each other or I prompt them along. We all end up laughing and working as a team.
With this idea, I get a large bag of m&m's and tell the students that they can each take 5. They cannot eat them until we go ove the rules. When each student has taken theirs, I explain that for each m&m they chose they have to tell the class one thing about themselves, depending on the color of m&m. You can choose what ever you want for categories could be; green - something you did this summer; brown - a pet peeve; blue - something about family; yellow - funny or embarrassing moment, etc. Then you go around the room and have each student redeem one m&m by telling something in that category. Then they can eat it. If a student has multiples of colors they can choose their own category the second time around. I never usually get around the class 5 times, so we eat the rest at the end of class. Of course, I take m&m's and participate also.
I've done the M&Ms activity (though we used Skittles, as we're a peanut free school). What I did was stand at the door the first day, and when I greeted the students I told them they could take some Skittles - as many as they want, but they couldn't eat them yet. They had to take at least 5. Most kids were suspicious enough to only take 5 or a few more than that. Of course, a couple kids took huge handfuls. Then they were given a large piece of paper, and had to illustrate (or write about) the same kind of things that MrsPsop mentioned - one of each Skittle. So if they took 20 Skittles, they had to do 20 things!
Also - a great language activity I did last year was "The Most Important Book". On Friday of the first week, everyone had to bring in a copy (or a drawing of the cover) of the book that was most important to them. It could be important for any reason. Some kids brought in the first book they remember reading themselves, some brought in favourites, a couple brought in books that were given to them by someone special. But on kid - the toughest boy in the class - brought in this worn board book called "The Fuzzy Bunny" or something like that. He said it was the book he remembers his mum reading to him. I almost cried. I had another kid (NOT a reader - severe LD as well as some family and psychological issues) who brought in a very short high-interest low-vocab book. When he held it up, I thought it looked familiar. I was the Spec Ed resource teacher for him the year before. He said, "Ms. D, you gave me this book to read for a novel study last year. It was the very first novel I ever read."
Needless to say, I'll be doing "The Most Important Book" again!
I am a first year teacher and assigned to a 7th grade math class. I have already been thinking about some activities and questionnaires for the students, but have been unable to get an appropriate math activity for the first day. I love the skittles/m&m thing and the straw activity is wonderful, but anybody got anymore interesting stuff or even a place to browse for them?
I just watched Freedom Writers the other night, and I liked her activity where the kids stood on the line if what she said applied to them. I thought this might be an easy way to get to know each class.
I plan to make statements and have the kids stand on a line if it applies to them, then move off the line before the next question. I was thinking of things such as: If you have siblings stand on the line, if you have a cell phone stand on the line, if you read a book over the summer, if you read a web site.
I'd love to hear any ideas for good questions. I'll have 6th graders and I'm new to middle school.
I teach 6th grade Reading and English. We are creating a "Mini Me' the first few days. The students had to create a cut out of themselves, decorated as themselves - hair, clothes, everything. They can bring in yarn and old clothes to cut to add to it. They then have to write about themselves in a center section. One paragraph is about hobbies and interests, another about their family, and the last about their goals. I "stole" this idea from another teacher who uses it for her 7th graders.
I got this idea from proteacher way back in 2002 in my first year but I still do it every year- bioglyphs. See http://sciencespot.net/Media/Biochall.pdf. I hand out a blank face to each student and they complete their face in black ink. Then I post them and over the next few days, I will pick a person and we will as a class deduce who s/he is from the picture. Great fun for parents' night too.
Another good idea I did last year with my 7th grade class in L.A. was: hand out each child an index card. Have them write 3 questions e.g. What colour most describes you? Would you rather... etc... (Encourage creativity). Then randomly pair them up with another student, interview each other and then introduce the person to the rest of the class. This sounds very simple (it is) but it was great fun and allows you (the teacher) to immediately see students' personalities and oral strengths.