Summer school is the start of a six-week program to help children prepare themselves for the next grade level of school. Many children start summer school and meet new friends while learning in areas they haven't mastered. Because of the weather, many children can find it hard to concentrate or get into the spirit of school. Teachers can encourage student participation and help them get excited for school by creating first day activities.
Desk Name Plates
Have the children make name plates for their desks on the first day of school. During the school year children are placed in a classroom and have minimal interaction with other classes. Allowing them to express their creative sides at the beginning of the school year may release some anxiety when meeting other children. Give the children a piece of 4-by-9-inch poster board. Let them write their names by drawing, painting or cutting letters out of magazines. When finished, let them stand by their desks and tell the class about themselves.
Instead of reading the class rules and hoping the children remember them, pair them with another student they do not know. Give each pair of children a set of the rules and let them quiz each other on their knowledge of classroom behavior. When finished, let each child interview the other child by asking each other 10-15 questions about their likes, dislikes, sports, hobbies and personalities. Once the interview is finished let the students stand in the front of the room while they introduce each other and tell the class about their new friends.
Class Motto & Goals
Think of a class motto and let the children create a bulletin board around it to display in or outside the classroom. Your motto, or slogan, should be a positive saying that makes the children want to succeed. Let them decorate the board using positive pictures or have them create poems or drawings about how they will use the class motto to succeed in school. When finished, have each child write down one goal he wants to accomplish during summer school; at the end of the program, let them re-visit their goals to see if they succeeded.
Younger children can start summer school with a book about themselves and what they enjoy about school. Give the children magazines, construction paper, markers and crafts supplies so they can create goal books for school. Goal books let the children view their progress throughout the program so they can see improvement. Goal books also let younger children express any concerns or fears they have regarding summer school. When they are finished creating their goal books, let them tell the class about their favorite parts of school or summer.
- school bus image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com