Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Non-Cheesy Icebreaker for First Day of School

I hate name games. Painfully awkward, these games have never magically connected me to people just because they’ve repeated, “Her name’s Laura and she likes llamas.”

Nope. Not happening around here, people.

For the first day of school, I usually start with a one-minute welcome and intro. of my background, have students make name cards they post on their desks (a half-sheet of colored paper folded hot dog-style), give a meme-based lecture covering my classroom expectations with a bit of humor, and model our first MUG Shot (mechanics, usage, and grammar) whiteboard activity to throw a little something academic at them before our first class wraps.

This year, though, the meme lecture’s starting to feel stale and I’m always open to fresh ideas. In a Facebook group for ELA folks that I follow, first-day stations were kicked around and I thought, Oh yeah, that’ll work.

Here’s my new first-day plan:
1. One-minute welcome/intro.
2. Make name cards
3. Stations activity
4. You are Here worksheet
(The MUG Shot and meme lecture have been slid to Day 2 on my calendar.)

Here’s how Stations & You are Here will roll:I’m on a block, so I might even be able to squeeze in that first MUG Shot. We’ll see how it goes.

And here’s all the same info in a video:

If you’d like a free set of the 38-page Stations/You are Here materials, just go here to grab a copy. There’s also a second version in the download with generic, non-ELA wording, meaning our friends in all subject areas can enjoy some cheese-free fun on the first day of school. Hope this helps start the year strong!

Special thanks to my talented teacher friend Madeline Alyce for the inspiration! Click here to check out her free annotation tools.

Teach on, everyone.

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