August 7, 2013

First Day of School Activities: Paper Bag Show & Tell

One of the best parts about our job is that 'fresh start' feeling that always comes with the beginning of a new school year. Regardless of how we ended the previous year, this is our opportunity to set a positive tone in our rooms. During the series, I will be sharing a few fun ideas to make the first day of school a success! Be sure to subscribe to my feed so you don't miss any of them!

Paper Bag Show-and-Tell

This is a fun way to incorporate writing into a back-to-school activity. Students will bring in a bag with three items in it. The items should show three things about them (what they like, where they live, fun things they've done, etc). They will share their items with the class in a show-and-tell time. After everyone has shared, you can introduce a writing project based on the items they brought. For example, more advanced writers might write a five paragraph essay explaining why they chose their three items. Younger students could write one sentence for each item they brought in or just simply the name of the item.

Here's how to do a paper bag show-and-tell:
  • On the Meet the Teacher Night before school starts, let each student know that you are assigning their first homework assignment. (Boo- bad teacher!) ;) Give them a paper bag with a note on the front: "This is your first homework assignment. Please fill this bag with three things that you think describe who you are and bring them in the first day of school. We will be sharing them with the rest of the class."                        
  • On the first day, have each student share the three items they brought and a little bit about why they chose that item. Older kids can practice taking notes by recording the name of the student and the three things they brought during the presentation. It may take more than one day to fit each student in. Just have a few students come up as you find some spare minutes.
  • As each student finishes, allow them to choose two students from the audience that want to to ask them a question. 
  • When everyone has shared, introduce a writing activity that corresponds with the items they brought in. It could be a 5 paragraph essay explaining why those items were significant to them.  (This could be their first writing project) It could be an adventure story where the character must somehow use those three items to rescue someone who is in danger. You could pair the students up and have them write a story about the other person. Younger students could make a mini flip book with a few sentences and pictures showing what they brought in their bags. 
Check out more First Day of School Activities:

The Teacher Test Game

Paper Bag Show-and-Tell (& Writing Project)
Before & After Pictures
Monster Adjectives
Make Birthday Posters

What's your favorite first day of school activity?

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