Key Takeaways

  • Back-to-school season is an exciting time for teachers, students, and their families.
  • By tapping your own excitement and anticipation during the first few weeks of school, you can set your students up for long-term success.
  • Inspiring activities focused on community building and kindness are a great way to welcome a new class of students.
  • For teachers, there’s no time of the year more special than the start of school. These last few weeks, you’ve been busy prepping your classroom to make students feel at home and coming up with engaging activities and lessons to kick off the school year. At the same time, kids have been looking forward to meeting their new teacher, reuniting with old friends and making new ones, and learning the ins and outs of their classroom.

    Of course, everyone’s amped up for back to school, and those first few weeks are going to be filled with a frenzy of excitement and eager anticipation. By tapping into that back-to-school energy and spirit, you can welcome your new students in a way that sets an inspiring tone for the whole school year. Here are a few tips, strategies, and resources to engage students to make sure this school year gets off to the best start yet!

    Build community inside and outside the classroom.

    The bonds you make during the first few weeks of school serve as the foundation for success. But getting to know your students and their families takes time and effort. Scavenger hunts that encourage students’ inquisitive nature are a fun and effective way for students to learn about one another and build classroom community.

    Connecting with families is another top priority for teachers. Tips and templates like class newsletters, volunteer forms, and homework alerts are a great way to develop relationships outside the classroom. Give them a try for free with a 30-day trial of Scholastic Teachables.

    Make sure routines and expectations work together.

    Kids become more invested in classroom success when routines and expectations, like kindness, work hand in hand. Bulletin boards are a great way to display class schedules and daily expectations, while these adorable fill-in posters, which prompt kids to share their favorite things, are another awesome resource for building community within the classroom. Once complete, hang them for a delightful back-to-school night display.

    Encourage lively discussions.

    There’s no better way to kick off the school year than with a friendly debate about classroom pets. Scholastic News encourages students to share their thoughts and feelings with the class, and teachers will see how their kids think, interact, and engage in classroom discussions. For younger learners, a Reverse Scavenger Hunt is the perfect activity for students to interact and get to know their new classroom.

    Create a dynamic classroom library.

    Books help students make sense of the excitement and anticipation they may feel about making new friends and transitioning to a different classroom. With Scholastic Book Clubs you can engage all students with a wide range of books and transform your classroom library into a safe place your kids can turn to explore new topics and read about the first day of school. Before you know it, your classroom library will be stocked with grade-appropriate and high-interest books. And with curated flyers, affordable books, and teacher favorites organized by grade level, Scholastic Book Clubs is an amazing resource for teachers just starting out. If you’re new to Scholastic Book Clubs, create an account, or simply sign in.

    Here are a few more tips to consider to welcome students to your classroom:

  • Make reading even more enjoyable by creating a warm, welcoming reading space for your students.
  • Students’ social and emotional development is always a top priority for students. These books and resources are perfect for boosting confidence and teaching students the skills necessary for success inside and outside the classroom.
  • Consider these books for paired reading exercises to help build lasting friendships among your students all year long.
  • To promote a lifelong love of reading, allow students to choose books that will line the shelves of your classroom library. 
  • Small group instruction and guided reading activities are a great way for students to develop their team building skills.
  • All the energy flowing from teachers, students, and their families makes those first few days and weeks of school a memorable experience for all. By using a variety of resources and implementing new strategies, teachers can welcome students in a way that makes them feel at home and sets them up for long-term success.