First Day of School Ideas for the 5th Grade

The first day of school is exciting for children of all ages.

First day of school activities are essential for helping students and teachers get to know each other at the beginning of a new school year. By the fifth grade, students understand the basics of the first day back in the classroom, such as learning the names of classmates and the general class rules. Surprise your fifth grade students with new, attention-grabbing activities for the first day of school.

1 Time Capsule

Time capsules are a popular first day of school activity for fifth graders. Alyson Grove submitted this idea to the Scholastic website. Students begin with an empty paper towel roll and decorate the outside with construction paper, markers and other craft supplies. The children fill their time capsules with items such as a picture of themselves, a questionnaire that asks about favorite subjects and activities and a handwriting sample. The teacher can also record information such as height to include in the capsules. Students then seal the ends of the time capsule with construction paper and tape. The teacher hides the time capsules until the last day of school, when the children open them and compare the contents with their current feelings, height and abilities.

2 All-About-Me Posters

Have your fifth grade students create All-About-Me posters. Submitted to A-to-Z Teacher Stuff by Drucilla, this first day of school activity entails passing out a large sheet of paper or bristol board to each student. Have the children draw and color in their name in the center of the paper and then fill in the remaining space with interesting facts about themselves. Examples of things to include are birthdays and favorite sports, foods, television shows and school subjects. If desired, you can also have students include one or two things that they would like to improve in, such as science or math, to act as a goal for the school year. Display the posters on the wall in the classroom. Students will enjoy both creating these posters and reading about their classmates.

3 Class Quilts

The class quilt, a beneficial activity for helping your fifth graders get to know one another, was submitted to the Scholastic website by Yelena Siwinski. Hand out sheets of black construction paper to students and have them draw silhouettes of their profiles. After this has been completed, have the children cut out their silhouettes and mount them on sheets of white paper. The silhouettes will be hung on the wall or on a bulletin board in the classroom in the form of a quilt. You can also have each student write a one-page autobiography that includes information like the students' favorite activities and subjects. Hang the autobiographies on the wall to form a second quilt next to the first.

4 Snowball Fight

Fifth grade students will love the snowball fight activity, submitted to A-to-Z Teacher Stuff by Daphne Sherrod. Pass out sheets of white paper and have children write down three things about themselves. Have your fifth graders crumple up their papers to form snowballs before giving them one or two minutes to have a snowball fight amongst themselves. When the time is up, instruct each child to pick up and flatten out the closest snowball and try to find the person who wrote it. Once the students have all found the person who matches their snowball, go around the room and have them introduce one another to the class by sharing the three facts.