Back to School - 1st Day Ideas


I love the first day of school, the excitement and newness of it all is my favorite. The first week of school, our campus focuses on relationships. I want students to feel welcomed and excited about my class, so that first week is really important. For the last few years, I have started school with stations.

After a brief introduction to the class, I get students up and moving around so they can talk and meet their classmates. They can rotate through the stations at their own pace and I walk around and just talk to them. Here are the stations I have planned for this year so far. 

Station 1 - Music Playlist

At this station I have a QR code to my Apple Music Class Playlist. They can browse Apple Music for songs they like and add them. I play music in my class most days and they love when they hear their song comes on.  

Station 2 - Creativity Challenge

Students at this station can choose at least one of three options to complete with a group of 3 or 4 students. They submit their products to a shared album and we vote on winners in the next class. 

Option 1 - Face Mash - Each person in your group contributes a part of their face to a portrait

Option 2 - Album Cover - Your group is a band, create a unique album cover image

Option 3 - Movie Poster - Your group starred in a movie, recreate the movie poster

Station 3 - Class Planning

At this station, I will have a digital media board such as Freeform set up. Students will add ideas on what they want to learn in our class. I have it set up so they can see all the big topics we study and they can add their thoughts and ideas. I use this throughout the year to make sure the class is relevant to them and picks up on their interests. I also have a student information document for them to fill out and return to me.

Station 4 - Teacher Notes

This station is where kids are asked to write a short note to a teacher from last year wishing them a great school year. They choose their favorite teacher and I have cardstock and markers for them to write their note. I take all the notes and put them in teacher mailboxes the next day. 

Station 5 - Classroom Scavenger Hunt

Using this provided Keynote template below, students check off that they have completed all the station requirements and then complete a classroom scavenger hunt. Since I teach Anatomy, there are lots of weird models, structures, and skeletons in my room.

Day 2: Day of Play

On the second day of school, we are going to do a "Day of Play". I will have all the equipment out-- various Pasco sensors, Spheros, Drones, Microscopes, etc. I am going to invite them to PLAY. Test them out, see how they work, and learn how to connect them to their iPads.

Each station will have directions or a challenge. For example at the drone station, students are challenged to help take supplies to a person stranded in an inaccessible area while they wait for rescue. I will have the take off location marked and then the "patient" they have to land next to.

Several stations will use sensors from Pasco. We typically use UV, temperature, force grip, heart rate, and sound.

Image of station sign using UV sensors and iPad.

I believe that people learn best in environments where they feel safe, comfortable, and heard. How can you engage your students at the start of a new semester? How do you get them invested in learning, feeling comfortable in a new environment, and get to know them?




All Comments

Posted on August 14, 2023

This plan offers students voice and choice. You've taken time to focus on topics that will engage them and allow them to test out equipment in a safe environment. I also love that it will give you opportunities to observe them with one another and with the materials, which will be valuable data when planning additional activities. Thanks for sharing this detailed plan!

Posted on August 14, 2023

So perfect for the 1st day Jodi! I love the student interaction and choice. Such a good way to start off the year. I know your students will be excited to learn after this engaging start! And your colleagues will appreciate the thank you note!

Posted on August 14, 2023

Jodi, Love your creativity in designing these stations for your science class! Your Apple Music playlist station, where students can choose songs and hear them play in class, is such a fantastic way to create a dynamic learning environment. The creativity challenges at Station 2, from the face, mash portraits to designing album covers, sound like an engaging and fun way to foster teamwork and imagination. Your approach at Station 3 to involve students in class planning and tailor the curriculum to their interests is truly inspiring. The idea of students writing notes to their past teachers at Station 4 is heartwarming, and the classroom scavenger hunt at Station 5 will make learning an exciting adventure. The "Day of Play" with innovative tools and challenges is a remarkable way to ignite curiosity. Your teaching is truly transformative, turning education into an unforgettable journey of discovery! Thank you for sharing.

Posted on August 14, 2023

Also, thank you for posting on X formerly Twitter as well. It alerted me that this content was in the community. 🎉

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