The importance of creating a positive atmosphere on this special day is really great.
In his book ‘50 Activities for the First Day of School’, Walton Burns empowers teachers with a great number of motivating activities which will definitely engage their students and create the warm atmosphere needed for a creative and successful new year.
Building rapport with their students on the very first day, teachers will benefit in numerous ways. So, what is a better way to smoothly kick off a new year than that of developing relationships with your students through a bunch of fun activities you can easily draw on in this terrific book?
It is true that some students feel overwhelmed on the first day of school. This might be due to the fact they do not know their classmates or/and their teacher, people who will interact with throughout a whole year and possibly much longer. The enjoyable activities this book contains break the ice of this tough first day; they build teacher-students rapport and develop students’ relationships among themselves.
The great number and the variety of the hands-on activities actually save a teacher’s precious time s/he would need to plan an engaging first lesson for the first day of school!
The book is well-structured with easy-to-follow steps for each activity. The instructions are presented in a clear and straightforward manner even for newbie teachers.
Contextualization of language
Engaging in this great book’s activities, students have the opportunity to learn and/or review the language in a contextualized way which will in turn facilitate consolidation and/or retention of knowledge.
While engaging in the activities lots of informal learning occurs without any stress. Informal learning is undoubtedly considered ideal for language learners as it prepares them for real-life situations.
The fun Element
The activities are enjoyable and motivate students to participate with great enthusiasm. Many of them are game-like such as the one in which the students are asked to toss a ball, learn each other’s name, move around to find a partner to share self information with and then report back to the class. Such activities definitely challenge every type of learner!
There is so much authentic communication generated through students’ participation in the activities! The students interact with each other in whole-class activities, pair or group work. They always have a goal to achieve. For instance, in one of the activities students are asked to work in pairs, exchange information about two differences and two similarities they have in common. Then, as a further step, they are invited to effectively communicate the message they have received to the rest of the class.
Walton Burns provides variations to the original activities he describes. Those will literally support a teacher who may address students who are more advanced than the level s/he may have had in mind before entering the class. Besides, the more complex variations of some activities will hinder the boredom factor learners, particularly of young ages, are usually faced with.
Walton also provides student feedback tips. For example, in the ‘ask the Teacher’ activity, he proposes effective ways a teacher can use to correct students’ language errors or to approach culture-sensitive issues.
Although the activities are designed with beginners in the author’s mind, he clearly indicates how they could equally effectively be used with more advanced English learners. Therefore, the activities can easily be adapted to any level of students.
I strongly recommend this book to any educator interested in starting off a smooth new school year and in maintaining a positive atmosphere throughout all school terms. The book can also provide an inspiring source of excellent activities and icebreakers throughout the whole year.
I honestly believe utilizing this resource will make a remarkably positive impact on any educator’s teaching practices.
P.S. You can find information on how to get the book at http://www.alphabetpublishing.xyz/book/first-day-of-school.