Top 5 Ways to Start the Second Semester in Middle School

Be ready for the first day back with your middle school students by using one or all of these ideas to review and set a tone for growth!  #teaching #newsemester

The first day back after a long break can be a tricky one.  Some of the students will be glad to be there, some will not be so happy, and others will be in a daze.  So what's a teacher to do?  Jump right in?

I suggest that you take the first day to review.  Review expectations, past content, and then set the tone for new growth.

Here are 5 of my favorite ways to accomplish these three things!

1.  Review expectations

I like to do this by taking 24 index cards (or if you have 30 students, then 30 index cards) and divide them in half.  The first half are questions about expectations and the second half are the answers.  As students walk in the door, hand them one of these index cards.  After you welcome everyone back and maybe even have students share one or two highlights from their break, then you engage in this review.

Ask all students to stand up.  Tell them that if they have a question, they will need to find the person with the answer that matches and visa versa.  After everyone has found their match, have each partner group share out loud.  Now you have just reviewed all your expectations!  

2 and 3.  Review past content

I like to use a bingo game to do this little job.  In my ELA classes, it's been a review of reading and writing terminology.  Nothing too hard but a way to get back into the swing of things gently. 

Ease your middle school students back into the swing of learning with a review of critical reading and writing terms!  #teaching #newsemester

Another way to do this is by playing a ZAP game with the reading terms.  This take less prep because there are no BINGO cards to copy!  Just divide the class into two teams and go!  I have a free version of this game in my free resource library.  You might want to add in some of your own writing questions.  :)

4 and 5.  Set the tone for the new growth

One of my favorite ways to do this is to read a picture book. I've used The Book of Mistakes, You're Here For A Reason, and this year I think I will use One Plastic Bag by Isatou Ceesay.

Each book sends a powerful message that encourages ideas of moving forward each in its own way.

One Plastic Bag is about a how a group of women took something negative (immense quantities of plastic bags completely taking over the landscape in the Gambia) into something positive by creating items out the bags that they then could sell.  I think we all have something we would like to change and this is a great way to think about how we could turn that negative into a positive!

Plus this book shows the power of creativity and joining together to reach an "impossible" goal.

So after we read the book, we'll look forward and make some plans and goals.  I have a free "Toasting The New Year" goal setting freebie in my resource library and this year, I will be using this nifty little 2020 sheet with the book:

I love reading a great picture book to my middle school students to set a tone for growth in the new semester!  #teaching #backtoschool

I'll also place this in my resource library in an editable PowerPoint format if you'd like to use it too. (You may need to change some of the fonts.)

Well, there you have it!  These are my 5 top ways to start the second semester in middle school classes!  I hope you found something you can use to make your transition back to school a smooth and positive one!

Thanks for stopping by!