Meet the Teacher Day! One of my most favourite days of the year. It always feels as though it holds so much promise for what is to come and wipes away all of the mistakes of the previous year (and yep, no matter how experienced a teacher you are, there are ALWAYS mistakes!) But on Meet the Teacher Day you get the chance to start again. It’s your day to set out your stall – to give the children a taste of the year to come, a taste of who you are as a teacher and for you to begin to get to know the characters coming into your class. Done and planned well, a Meet the Teacher Day can not only give you great insight into your new class, but will also give you a quick overview of their abilities and can even give you a great display for the coming year! So with all that in mind, here are some fabulous Meet the Teacher Day activities.
What I Want My Teacher To Know
I love this as a Meet the Teacher Day activity. It hits two separate needs – it will show you where each child is in their writing, but will also (and I’d say more importantly) help you find out more about the children in your new class. It can be structured in anyway you want, but the best way is for you to write a letter to each child, telling them what you want them to know about you.
You can tell them about your family (children love that!), what pets you have, what you are frightened of, what you are looking forward to in the coming year and what makes you laugh or sad. Make it funny and engaging – tell them something that will make them giggle and get to know you more. Then, pop each letter into an envelope, address them to your class and hand them out. They love receiving letters and even more so if it is personalised. Then, and here’s the key part, ask them to write a letter back to you! Ask them to tell you about their family, what they are looking forward to, what they love (or hate) about school, what they aspire to be – anything at all. You’ll be surprised by the amount of information you find out in just that one letter!
The Type Of Teacher I Wish For
This is a lovely group activity and allows you to quickly ascertain which groups work well together and which don’t. You are stand back and watch them work and figure out who are the leaders, the followers, the disengaged and the strugglers! Ask the children to put themselves into groups and give them some sugar paper and markers. Get them to draw a teacher in the middle of the page and list around it all the attributes of a teacher they would like.
You’ll probably get a great number of ‘funny’, ‘kind’ and ‘thoughtful’ answers when you ask the children to share but there might be a surprise or two in there as well. As a class, you can then create a poster of the type of teacher you will be during the next year. Follow this up with a class based activity to create a poster of the ‘ideal pupil’ attributes to go side by side on display. You’ll almost definitely be referring to both of these posters as the year goes on!
A really easy Meet the Teacher Day activity which will create a great display is to have the children draw large portraits of themselves. It’s best with this activity to model to them how to go about drawing their portrait, and to have small mirrors for them to look into as they draw. If your Meet the Teacher Day is a whole day then this is a fabulous activity for the afternoon. It gives you chance to sit down with each child and chat to them about themselves, or listen to them read and find out more about the dynamics of the class.
The best type of display here is portraits about A4 size done with pastels and pencils. Once the children have drawn themselves and coloured it in, then they can spend time cutting it out and backing it onto black paper. You will find you have a lovely display to put up so when the children come back into the class in September they already feel the classroom belongs to them.
Sometimes you will inherit a class that has been mixed up from previous years, or you are in Year 3 in a Junior School so the children don’t really know each other yet. If this is the case, then a class bingo session is a wonderful Meet the Teacher Day activity. Essentially you give each child a sheet of paper with bingo squares on it with a different category inside each one. For example you could put a square with ‘has a sister’ or ‘has a dog’ or ‘loves singing’ in it. The aim is for the children to talk to each other and find out which of their classmates can fit into each box. The child who fills all of the boxes with a name is the winner and yells BINGO!
This activity will get the children talking to each other and finding out more about their classmates. If you are finding that it’s hard to break the ice with the class then do this activity as one of the first ones and you’ll quickly find they will talk to each other and nerves will dispel!
Toilet Roll Tell
I love this activity – it makes me smile every time I do it. The basic premise is to break the ice and let you find out a bit more about the children in a fun way. It also hits the speaking and listening assessment area – you very quickly discover which children like to talk, which are shy and which ones are going to need a bit of help in their speaking and listening.
The game is very simple. Sit with the children in a circle and pass around a roll of toilet paper. Ask the children to take as many sheets as they like and then pass to the next child. Even this is a great assessment tool as you’ll find out who the confident children (and jokers) are when they take as many pieces as they can. Once everyone has their sheets, tell them that depending on how many pieces they took they have to tell the whole class that many things about themselves. (Cue the super confident ones who took far too many pieces now seriously regretting it!) It’s a super easy Meet the Teacher Day activity and can be lots of fun at the same time.