for Beginning the School Year
Setting Up the Classroom
Instead of going through all the work of arranging the classroom and distributing all materials before the first day of school, get the students involved in the actual set-up of the room. Leave all the desks or tables and chairs pushed to one side of the room, and when the students arrive the first day, their first order of business would be to meet in groups to draw maps of the classroom. Then the class can vote on how to arrange the room. Besides being a great community-builder for the first day of school, this activity requires the use of a variety of skills in math (drawing to scale, spatial sense) and social studies (drawing and reading maps). It also gives the teacher a great first day observation opportunity to assess students' academic, social, and collaborative skills.