Back to School Ideas

Back to school ideas and lessons for middle school teachers.

Hi Everyone,

I cannot believe back to school season is around the corner. Next you will tell me Walmart has their Halloween decorations on display.

It’s Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. I am so excited to go back to school this year for my 9th year of teaching During my career I have always taught ELA and I love it.

My absolute favorite novel to teach is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It is a fantastic novel that speaks to the realities of teenage life, and the various perspectives of social classes. I cannot believe that S.E. Hinton was only 16 years old when she wrote the book and 18 years old when it was published in 1967.

During the first chapter of the novel when all of the characters get introduced my students usually give each other side glances. Who names their kids Ponyboy and Sodapop? They quickly forget their initial impressions as soon as the interaction between the characters begins.  What is your favourite novel? I love adding new books to my classroom library and syllabus.

My favorite back school activities are things that get kids up and moving and meeting their classmates. When they enter my room they have a Student Info Sheet  waiting on their desk so they have a task to do while I am taking attendance, helping lost students find their real homeroom (believe it or not every year I have students who end up sitting in a desk in my classroom, who are not my class list, and I have to page the office to help me sort it out) and sorting out general first day chaos.

After attendance has been taken and I introduce myself, students work on two activities Back to School Bingo and Interview The Room Activity which requires them to get out of their desks and get to know their fellow classmates. Students want and need to talk to their peers on the first day of school and this gives them an opportunity for purposeful talk with their peers.
The first week of school, I make the seating plan alphabetical by last name, but by the end of the week, I ask each student to fill out a Student Seating Plan Choice Card. The following week I rearrange my groupings using their input and my professional judgment. You can find these fun and engaging resources by clicking on the photos below.

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  • Reply
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
    July 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I love the Outsiders too! I am also a huge fan of getting kids up and moving. Not only does it break the ice, but everyone is having fun which is very engaging!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  • Reply
    Room 213
    July 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I love getting the kids out of their seats too–great ideas!

  • Reply
    Addie Williams
    July 28, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Ha ha… I too love The Outsiders! Kids can so relate to everything in the book… they almost forget it was written so long ago!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!


  • Reply
    Secondary Sara
    July 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Looks like fun! Thank you!

  • Reply
    The Daring English Teacher
    July 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Your bingo activity sounds like a lot of fun! I'll have to look into it. Thanks for sharing!

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