Social-emotional lessons all year long are KEY to a happy, healthy classroom. Those social-emotional skills are just as important as academic skills, if not more so! Here are a few ideas of social-emotional activities for your first week. Filling your first few weeks with social-emotional lessons will help create a warm-caring learning environment.
It is helpful to do both "all about me" type activities and classroom community building/friendship lessons to help celebrate individuality but also bond students together like a family.
Read How Full is Your Bucket? and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Then, create a chart about how to be a bucket-filler at school. Invite students to share their bucket-filling acts or acts of kindness continuously and celebrate them! For more bucket-filling ideas, click HERE.
Take a white poster board. On the back of your poster board, divide the board into however many squares as students. Number them for your reference. Cut them out in the shape of puzzle pieces. Have your students each decorate a piece with drawings/words that relate to them. Have a discussion about teamwork and model being a good teammate. Then, have students work as a team to assemble the class puzzle! Hang it up somewhere to remind the students - though we are all different, we all fit together as one team!
Have you seen the so popular toothpaste activity? This is where you have the students pour out a tube of toothpaste. Then, ask a child to try to get the paste back into the tube. When they are unable to do it, explain that it's easy to get words out, but it's not easy to take them back. Later in the year to review this idea, you can use a piece of paper. Have the students crumple up the paper. Then, when they open it, ask them to get it back to it's smooth original form. They will be unable to get the wrinkles out. Draw the conclusion that words can leave forever scars that you are unable to take back.
Have your class develop a NAME that describes them. For example, my class name is "The Knights of Kindness." We make a sign/poster to go outside our door. I give each student a heart and they write something they love about our class on the heart. We glue all 20 some hearts on. Then, we develop a class MOTTO. The motto is a phrase that describes what you do! Our motto is "Overflowing buckets with kindness." We make a poster with a big heart in the middle. The students put their hand print in the heart, and I write the motto on the outside. We sign our name/motto on all things that relate to our class. It forms unity!
Teach your students how to be a good partner! You can play basic math games throughout the first week that everyone can play. Use this as a time to model, practice, and reflect on good partner strategies!
Be sure to check back at the blog next week - I'll be sharing about tattling and conflict resolution!