Of of the most engaging and interactive ways to start the new school year is by facilitating a back-to-school station activity in your classroom. Using back-to-school stations as a classroom activity during the first week of school a great way to get your students up and interacting with each other. Furthermore, back-to-school stations are also great for getting to know your students and handing out important class information.
Here is a more in-depth look at the back-to-school station activity that I use in my classroom. You might also want to check out my other favorite back-to-school ideas and activities for middle school ELA and high school English.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL STATION 1
The first station is a student survey station. In this station, students complete a survey that helps me get to know my new students more. This survey includes carefully curated questions that provide me with useful information that I refer back to throughout the school year. I keep a binder all year long with these surveys organized alphabetically by class period. For the digital classroom, I also included a link to a Google form survey.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL STATION 2
The second station in my back-to-school station activity is a classroom technology account station. In the first week of school or so, I try to get all of my students signed up for all of the various class accounts we will use throughout the year. Providing them with a station to do this saves so much time. And then to help make things easier throughout the year, I post the class account set-up sheet in Canvas (used to be Google Classroom) and in my classroom so that I can easily refer new students to it.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL STATION 3
The third station is a course syllabus scavenger hunt station. Rather than read through the entire syllabus with my students on the first day of school, I have them work through a scavenger hunt to find, read, and write down all of the important things from my syllabus. And since it is likely that my important syllabus items might be slightly different than your important syllabus items, this station comes with a customizable recording sheet so that you can have students record the information that is most essential for your class.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL STATION 4
The fourth station is a book recommendation station. Since I teach English, I want my classroom to be a place that encourages a love of reading from the very first week of school. By having students think back and reflect on their favorite book and then recommend it to their peers, students start to are able to tell that my classroom values reading and reading for enjoyment.
Setting up the station activity for the first week of school does take a little bit of prep work. However, with each new back-to-school season, the prep work will be less and less. To help preserve your station cards and directions, I suggest printing the pages you plan to use year after year on cardstock to help it last.