Start the New Year with a Bang! Games and Activities to Inspire and Excite

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By Sandra Jacoby

The presents have been opened, fireworks have welcomed the new year and kids have gotten used to being home for two weeks! Now it is time for back-to-school, the winter version. How do we, as teachers, get our students back into the swing of class? Instead of jumping head-first into the pool of knowledge (that is more than likely frozen over), you have to break the ice. Hold off on the piles of homework and start slow. Find something that will get their gears going without the stress.

Primary/Elementary Levels:

Games and hands-on activities are a great way to review the previous semester and ignite students’ excitement to be back in class. A scavenger hunt on the playground or in the classroom, for example, is sure to grab their attention! Students can find five rocks (to work on counting) or things that starts with a certain letter or sound (such as /b/). A scavenger hunt can be adjusted to any subject and any grade…and it doesn’t take a lot of preparation.

Junior High/High School:

Stretch students’ brains and get them talking with optical illusions. Just search “optical illusions” on Google Images, and you’ll find plenty. Students can write about what they see and discuss their different perspectives.

Students, Come on Down!

Another option to get children of any age tuned in to the new semester is to take previous tests and quizzes and use them as questions in a game show. You can break students into groups to play (students are generally more motivated when they’re working with their peers), and you might choose to award the winners with five extra credit points on the next test or a dismissal from a homework assignment.

Starting the new semester with a game or activity will inspire your students to even greater heights during the second-half of the year!

Sandra Jacoby graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in December, 2008, with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. She currently teaches pre-kindergarten in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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