For any young student, especially those in the first-grade, getting to know fellow students on the first day of school may be stressful. Students feel shy and anxious when meeting people for the first time, and first-graders have not had many chances to build their communication or social skills. Team building activities are useful in any situation, from back-to-school events to increasing morale between employees. On the first day of school, try team building activities with your students to create a tight bond between classmates from the start.
One activity to help first-graders learn about their fellow students is to play a game called "Guess Who?" This game allows students to answer questions about themselves, such as a birthday, favorite food, favorite recess game or any other personal fact you can think of that is relatable to first-grade. Once all of the cards are turned in, have each student stand up at his desk along with the rest of the class. Choose a card and read one fact off of it. For example, you will say, "My favorite food is Mexican." All of the students who wrote that as their favorite food will remain standing, and all others will sit down. Next, read a second fact off of the same card, such as "My favorite recess game is kickball." Students who did not list that activity will sit down, and the more questions you ask, the more students will sit down. The last student standing is the person the card is about, allowing all of the other students to know her favorite things. Go through the stack of cards, and not only will kids get to know each other, they also will see who has some favorite things in common.
An activity that will get first-graders working together is a scavenger hunt, searching for facts about fellow students. To do this activity, give each student two index cards and have them write down some facts about their physical appearance. Hair and eye color are common characteristics, and for first-grade you can also have students include what they are wearing. Gather all of the cards, mix them up, and pass them out to students. Once a student has a card, he must look at the description and try to find the student in the room. There is no talking allowed and the students must write down the student they think is on the card. Once all the students are done, have them share results out loud with the class to see if they are right.
This game is ideal for the first day of school, but may also be used before group activities to get students interacting with each other. Have the class sit on the floor in a circle, and hand one student a ball of yarn. Tell him to hold the end of the string and share a fact about himself. Once he has shared his fact, he must toss the ball to another student while holding onto the yarn. Each student should share a personal fact and hold onto the string of yarn before throwing to the next child. When the game is completed, the yarn should form a web.
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