Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Day Tried & True Linky Party

It's that time of year again! Time to go back to school! Whenever I think of going back to school, I get the song from Billy Madison stuck in my head.

Anyways, what better way to celebrate going back to school than with a linky party! Whether you are just starting out or have a few years under your belt, I hope you enjoy reading all of our tried & true first day tips. Thank you, Chrissie at The Undercover Classroom for all of your help getting this linky party together! I can't wait to read everyone's tips and tricks for the first day of school!

My first day tried and true tip deals with teamwork. I cannot stress enough how important it is to create a team environment in your classroom. I like my students to support each other and lift each other up! A classroom that works together is a happy place.

I’m a quote girl and believe in the power of words. When my students walk into my room, I have a sign by the door that reads…

I keep this sign by my door because my students see it when they enter and leave the classroom, and it sets the tone for my expectations throughout the school year.

On the first day of school, I do a ton of getting to know you activities with my kiddos. One of the activities I have my students complete is a teamwork activity called the School Supply Structure Challenge. This activity is one of my absolute favorites! This problem-solving activity challenges the students to work together as a team. First, I divide my students into small groups of about 4 to 5 students. Once, they are in their groups, I give them their challenge. They have ten minutes to work with their team and create the tallest school supply structure they can make using only a ruler, five pieces of notebook paper, one yard of tape, and three paperclips. During the ten minutes, they have to brainstorm and construct their structure. Then I set a timer, and they begin! I have a Promethean Board in my classroom, so I like to use a visual timer for the students. My favorite timer is the Flash Countdown Timer from

This timer has a colored bar that changes as the time runs out. It even plays music for the kids while they work. I love using the Mission Impossible and Star Wars theme songs in my room!

While my students are working, I walk around the classroom to observe and monitor their work. I love watching my students during this activity. It's so fun watching them problem solve and work together. You can see who your leaders are, and who might need help finding their voice. I am always amazed by their creativity!

When the timer stops, the students must stop whatever they are working on. I go to each group and use a meter or yard stick to measure their structures. The team with the tallest structure is the winner!

The pictures below show some of our final structures.

Once the activity is complete, I like to discuss the strategies my students used while creating their structures. We talk about the strategies that worked really well and the strategies that didn't go as planned. This activity can be found in my Back to School Activities Pack. Feel free to check it out for other fun back to school activities.

I hope my post gives you some fun tips and tricks for the first day of school! Be sure to check out the other posts below for more first day fun!

If you have a favorite first day of school activity and would like to link up your own blog post, please join us!  Use the First Day Tried & True graphic from the top of this post in your own blog post and link up below! The collection will remain open for new links through August 21.


  1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for cohosting this linky party.Structural challenges are so much fun and I love that your idea includes school supplies. Enjoy the rest of the summer! :) Jodi from The Clutter-Free Classroom {}

    1. Thank you Jodi! I love your blog! You have given me so many helpful tips.

  2. What an adorable stem activity (you also had me with the Star Wars theme music). I pinned your door sign! So sweet! Thanks for sharing!

    The Whimsical Teacher

  3. That sounds like fun! I would love to try this in my classroom! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love this team building activity and your fabulous TPT packet! This is a "must-do" for my first day of school!
    Tricia from "Tricia's Terrific Teaching Trinkets"

  5. Your team building activity is great. My 5th graders will eat it up.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a great idea! I was thinking about those materials and wondering how in the world they would make a tall structure. The structures that your kids made are really impressive! I bet you learn a lot about your kids in that one lesson!
    Undercover Classroom

  7. The supple structure challenge is awesome! And I love that it could work for such a variety of ages! What a great team building activity! Thank you so much for hosting this linky! It has been so fun getting to read all of the creative ideas!

    One Step Closer Teaching

  8. Such a fun idea! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Aw, love the sign and the building activity! What a great way to show how cohesive the class will be and how to work together! :)