Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Day of School Activity

I'm linking up today with some of the most fabulous teacher bloggers to share our tried and true first day of school activities. Thanks to Undercover Classroom & Education Electrification for hosting!

My favorite is back to school activity that I learned back when I was getting my masters, before I ever had a classroom of my own. I've done it for the past two years with my kiddos, and they absolutely LOVE it! This activity is great for practicing communication skills and building teamwork. It's also just a ton of fun!

The Materials

1.    Two fairly generic and simple pictures. They can be black and white or color, but your students will be drawing with only a pencil, so it doesn't really matter!

These are the pictures I used with my students. You want the pictures to be fairly simple and easy for anyone to recreate.

2.    A computer & projector to display the pictures OR a small print out of the pictures for each student.
3.    Two plain white pieces of paper
4.    Pencils
5.    Blindfolds (optional)
6.    A sense of humor ;)

The Rules

Students will work in partners to draw a picture that looks like one of your two sample pictures. The catch is that one student will be blindfolded and the other must give them directions to draw the first picture! 

1. Partner students up and position one student so that they can see the photo. Turn the other partner's back to the photo and have that student close their eyes (or use a blindfold).
2. Reveal the first photo and have the students start verbally describing the photo to their partner, giving them directions on how to draw it. Be sure to monitor students' voice volume because a lot of students will be talking all at once!
3. Give students anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to work. Some years my kids seem to take forever, others they whiz right through it!
4. Once time is up, show the blindfolded students their own drawing, as well as the photo they were trying to create. Get ready for lots of laughter and talking!
5. Allow partners time to discuss what worked well and what didn't when giving each other directions.
6. Repeat the process, now with the first student blindfolded and the second student giving directions.
7. Once both partners have had a chance to draw and give directions, you can either lead a class discussion on the reflection questions below or have students work together to write their responses.

Reflection Questions

1. What was difficult or frustrating about this process?
2. What was easy or fun about this process?
3. What strategies did you and your partner use to communicate clearly?
4. How would this activity change if you and your partner were angry with each other? What about if you completed the activity with a parent? Your teacher? Why would it be different with these different people?
5. Which photo was more accurately drawn- the first or the second? Why do you think that is?

Not only is this activity totally hilarious, it helps students to become aware of how they speak to each other. Do they speak very fast? (I'm guilty of that one!) Are they vague in their descriptions? Are they impatient when their partner doesn't understand a direction? All of these are skills that our students must learn if they are going to be successful in whole group, small group, and partner settings. This activity is great, because it allows them to work out those ideas out in authentic context before any of those issues arise. 

What do you think of this activity? Would you try it in your own class?

I can't wait to see the other teachers who linked up!

XO Emily


  1. Replies
    1. So fun! It's like a Jedi mind trick, because the kids think it's a blast but you're actually getting them to practice their communication skills! Win-win!!

  2. I love it! What a great idea! I can imagine how this would really help break the ice and get them talking and laughing together. I'm going to add it to my bag of tricks. I might even use the same pictures that you shared! Thanks for linking up!
    Undercover Classroom

    1. It's great to use at any point when you feel like your kiddos could use some help practicing communicating! Thanks for hosting :)

  3. Great ideas! I will definitely add this to my plans. Thanks for sharing!

    Education Electrification

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Thanks for hosting such a fun link-up!!


var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";