As school begins, emotions are at a high (the butterflies in our stomachs are opening their wings), and teachers have been very busy getting ready – organizing, decorating, and planning the year ahead; planning for a year full of learning, excitement, experience, and success, making sure the classroom and lessons are welcoming and appropriate for all students.
As a teacher of special education, I find that planning for the first week of school requires a lot of preparation and thinking outside the box. The activities need to be meaningful, age appropriate, enjoyable and engage the students to their maximum potential.
One of the most significant tools I use to make my lessons relevant and engaging is the iPad. It is an excellent tool for introducing learning material and provides a variety of activities that allow students to be active participants in the learning process. It is only logical to also use it for activities to start the school year. Using the app Tiny Tap, which is an open-platform app allowing the creation of personalized interactive activities, I have created two activities to engage and inspire learners as the school year begins.
- “Welcome to a new school year”: the goal of this activity is to help students become familiar with their school, the staff and their classmates. All students can enjoy this activity, those new to the school and those that are returning. Through the activity students will become familiar with the teacher, classroom staff, therapists they will see, and other significant staff in the school. Staff members can record messages on their photos that students can hear when they press the photo, or they can alternatively record welcome videos. The game is in Hebrew, but the ideas are clear and you can easily create your own version for your school.
- “Start the year on the right foot”: This activity introduces the saying “start on the right foot” giving the children a fun and interactive way to start the school year. In the activity, the students choose what they would like to wish for themselves for the school year. They are then given a task to photograph each other, entering the class with the right foot first. Of course, in order to ensure inclusiveness, there is a slide describing how each student can do this according to their abilities. The resulting photos can be displayed in class together with each student’s wish for themselves, creating a nice idea for a classroom board for the start of the school year. Press here to play.
Wishing us all a wonderful year, full of success and creative learning ideas.
Let us know how you started the school year…