Taking a minute to get to know your students (and for them to get to know each other) is an important part of showing respect and building a team. Here are some activities submitted by teachers across the nation:

2 Truths, 1 Lie
Submitted by Leah from Massachusetts
Fifth Grade

I play a game called 2 Truths and 1 Lie and have students tell the two most wildest facts about themselves and one wild, but untrue fact, is among the three total. It is up to the class to guess which fact is untrue. I usually begin and tell the class:

I water ski frequently.
I used to have pink hair.
I love the Jonas Brothers.

It’s then up to them to choose which “fact” is really fiction!

Back-to-School Time Capsule
Submitted by Susan from New York
Special Education Teacher

I do a Time Capsule every year with my students as one of my first activities. It includes their favorite color, book, tv show, sport, animal, school subject, etc… One they have each completed one, they fold it up and seal it and it goes in a box that I have labeled Time Capsule. In May, they compete the same form and then they open the one from September and compare their answers. To much of their surprise many things have changed over the course of eight months. They even notice a difference in their handwriting. This activity is always a winner with my students. I have been doing it for years!

Filling Bags with Things that Represent Us
Submitted by Natalie from Florida
Third Grade teacher

The first day of school I bring in a paper bag with 3 – 5 items (i.e. family picture, a picture of my pets, something purple (my favorite color), A Clifford book (my favorite story character), etc.). I stand in the front of the room and take out one item at a time, show it to the class and tell the about myself. I give the children a chance to ask me questions after each item.

Then I give the children a bag with a short typed note explaining the assignment and ask the children to bring in 3-5 items that tell about them that they would like to share with the class. After each child presents their bag the audience is allowed to ask questions. By the end of the first week the students and I have learned a lot about each other.

Friendship Web
Submitted by Jennifer from Michigan
7th Grade

The first day of school in lieu of going over the rules, I do an activity where we sit on top of our desks and take one spool of yarn and throw it to each other holding on to our piece and telling something about ourselves. At the conclusion, we are all connected by this web of yarn, and I discuss that we are going to be a web of learners who need each other to create a learning atmosphere appropriate for learning. We discuss how this might happen, for example, respecting each other, listening to each other, supporting each other, etc.

Microphone Mania
Submitted by Rinita from New Jersey
2nd Grade

I have the students pair up with one another and make microphones. After making microphones, they interview each other and give a news report about that student.