The first week of school is all about balancing all of those getting to know you activities and teaching procedures, routines, and expectations. Finding get to know you activities for elementary students is not always an easy task so I’ve compiled five low-prep ideas for you.
Low Stakes Get To Know You Activities for Elementary Students
For the first week of school, keeping getting to know you activities as “low stakes” is important to make sure that all learners feel comfortable participating, in some capacity. Please don’t ask your students to stand up, sharing their name, what they did over the summer and what they are excited for in the year to come, all on the first day. 🤪 Do these get to know you activities for elementary students instead.
This or That
Playing this or that on the first day is the perfect way to get students to share a bit about themselves without shining the spotlight on them.
To play this or that, shares two options for students to choose from. Students can share their answers by either walking to one side of the classroom or another, by verbally sharing with an elbow partner, or by writing A or B on a whiteboard and revealing it. I like to show the this or that prompt to students by writing it on a whiteboard or showing them on class slides. For added fun and student engagement, choose a few students to share the reasoning for their answer. It’s a good way to get students raising their hand to share, in a low-stakes situation.
A few this or that prompt ideas:
- Cats or dogs?
- Science experiments or art projects?
- Puzzles or board games?
- Bike ride or playground?
- Soccer or baseball?
- Hot chocolate or lemonade?
- Camping or sleepovers?
- Car ride or airplane ride?
- Spring or fall?
- Ocean or mountains?
Another option for whole class get to know you activities is a sharing circle. To do this, form a circle as a class. Students are given the option to share or to pass and are reminded to listen to others’ answers until it’s their turn to share.
A few sharing circle prompts for the first week of school:
- Share one thing you did over summer break.
- What’s your favourite subject in school and why do you enjoy it?
- What is one thing you’re excited to learn this school year?
- Describe your morning routine before coming to school.
- What book are you excited to read this school year?
Guess Who is one of the popular get to know you activities for elementary students. There are a few ways to play. One way is to have students fill out a survey (without indicating their names) and have students guess who filled out each survey. Another way is to have students discretely bring in an item (which can be placed in a brown paper bag) that best represents them and put the items on display. Students then guess who brought in each item.
Partner introductions are a great alternative to having students introduce themselves in front of the class. It’s a way to get students to practice speaking in front of their classmates but they are often more comfortable sharing about someone else, rather than themselves.
Have a set of questions for students to interview their partners and record their answers. Then, students use that page as a reference when introducing their partners to the class.
Find Someone Who
In this get to know you activity, students are on a mission to find a classmate that matches each of the criteria outlined on their challenge page. For added fun, set a timer and give a time limit! Give students a page with the criteria and have them record a classmates’ name for each one.
Ideas for “find someone who” criteria:
- Have a younger brother
- Have a sibling at our school
- Have an “l” in their name
- Has a blue backpack this year
- Have grey shoes
Sprinkling these get to know you activities for elementary students throughout your first week of school will amp up the fun in your first week of school lesson plans. Then, you can balance these activities with teaching those routines and procedures, and layering in academics. Click here for ideas on first week of school lesson plans. Hint: I’ve even included free first week of school plans for you to grab.
Want to try these get to know you activities for elementary students but don’t want the prep? I’ve got you. You can grab these get to know you activities here.