Tried and True Back to Middle School Activities


Before delving into your content, take a look at these FIVE days of tried and true activities for back to middle school!

My room is ready, I've attended all the meetings, and the first day is imminent, but what should I do on that first day of middle school?  It might seem tempting to just hand out the syllabus and jump into the content but that won't set the best tone for the rest of the year. 

I want to build a community of learners where relationships are important first.  The old saying goes that the students don't care what you know until they know that you care.  That's why I spend a full week on getting to know my students and building relationships!

On the first day, I always get everyone seated in alphabetical order so everyone has a place to sit (not everyone knows everyone) and so I can accurately take attendance.  ;)  After the first week or so, I change seats once I get to know the students and their needs.

Then I always do an ice breaker.  I might do a BINGO game or a TP pass or even something else.  As long as it's active and gets everyone involved - it will get kids interested and engaged.  After we finish this, we make a little something to tell about ourselves that I can later display for Open House!

The next day, I start to get into the "rules".  Except that I do not call them rules - I call them agreements.  Students tell me what they need to be successful on a sticky note.  I ask them to place their sticky notes in a special place and then we finish the "craftivity" from the first day so that everyone has a chance to share about themselves.  Read more about creating agreements by clicking here.  

On the third day, we finish the sticky note activity to establish what our class needs to be successful and then begin to go over the syllabus.  I like to have students create either an interactive notebook foldable for the syllabus or a mini book to keep the syllabus from being one of those Charlie Brown teaching moments.  

On the fourth day, we do something collaborative.  It could be a game like "Walk the Line", Building something as a group and then trying to "sell" it to the rest of the class, or even something like the Skittles and 7-up activity. These activities always help me see who the leaders are in the classroom.

On the fifth day, we complete a survey, go over anything from yesterday (if necessary), participate in some goal-setting activities, and maybe some silent note writing and passing.  (They love the silent note-passing!)

Now I have spent 5 days getting to know my students and set a tone for positive interaction and engagement.  I have learned what students click well together, who are my leaders, who may need some TLC and many other things.  With all of this in mind, I can craft better lessons to reach all learners.

If you'd like some ready to go sets of resources to match the activities, I mentioned, take a look at this bundle:

Spending time building community and establishing relationhips is what the first week back to school is all about!  Use some of these ideas to make it a great first week of middle school!

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