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Mix it Up: Stations on Day One!

Last year I tried this, and it was amazing. I was totally inspired by The Literary Maven last year, and it was a massive hit with students! We had so much fun, and I really enjoyed having a more relaxed atmosphere in the classroom on the first day, so much so that I did stations for Open House, too (more on that in another post). This year, I'm changing it up a bit, but also keeping some things the same. Make sure to check out the above link to see my inspiration from last year, some of her items were freebies last year, not sure if they still are or not, but definitely take a look!


1. I will assign seats, even if they change after the first week. It will hopefully give some of my students, especially my sixth graders, a bit more reassurance than trying to just find a random seat on the first day.

2. I will likely extend this into TWO periods to get everything done, as we ran out of time last year!

So my first station is the Syllabus and Classroom Scavenger Hunt. This was a great teamwork activity. In their groups, students had to do a syllabus and classroom scavenger hunt and answer questions about the class. My top scoring group at the end of the period received a No Homework Pass, so it got a bit competitive! I made up a bunch of questions, and assigned various point values to each question, so they had to be strategic as well!

Station 2, this is where I got the handouts from the link above. The speech bubbles were so cute for introducing the idea of SMART goals! Students definitely needed more time, cutting and gluing seemed to take the longest at this station, and remind students to pick up after themselves!
At Station #3, I'm going to set out a variety of books in different genres, and have them go on a speed date with each book. While they're browsing, I'm going to have them fill out a simple chart, with their name on it, that they'll turn in to me. This will give me an idea of what kinds of books they're in to, and I'll hopefully have some suggestions for them when we begin independent reading conferences. The chart is still in the process, but it'll basically ask the name and author of the book, the genre (good pre-assessment), did they like it or not, and why?
At Station #4, they'll pick up a student packet with a scope and sequence idea, plus their anchor pages for the ISN, a Parent Questionnaire, and a Manila Folder. This folder will be where they store their assessments, so they'll have some time to decorate it and make it their own. They also need to label it correctly on the tab, Last Name, First Name. Believe it or not, make sure you have an example. Also, I have them write their homework in their planners from the board.

Station #5: This is my favorite station, because I learned so much about what they want in their school and of me! On chart paper, I put the following questions up: What does the ideal classroom look like? What are three important characteristics of a teacher? What does the perfect student look like? What does an ideal school look like? A change this year is that students will use sticky notes, to prevent them from writing as BIG as possible, and they are also signing their names to the stickies (they'll be up for Open House)

Station #6: This is a new station this year for me. I'm at a new school, and I wanted a fun activity where I could sit down and informally talk to my students, so I came up with this! I created these Meet and Greet cards, kind of like playing cards, and students will draw them and we'll go around in a circle and answer as quickly as possible!

 Finally, Station #7 is Growth Mindset, I'm all about that this year, and I really want to focus on it from day one! I purchased this awesome Growth Mindset Bundle from The Daring English Teacher, and I'll be using the Crest with my 8th graders, and the Pennant with my 6th graders, and the first four pages of activities and surveys with both. You should definitely check out this resource, it rocks!

Have a WONDERFUL beginning of the school year, everyone!


  1. Brilliant! We're right in the middle of our school year here but I'm pinning this for January!

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  3. I love love love this idea and will definitely be using it this year! How did/ will you incorporate teaching procedures and rules while giving students time to rotate through all stations?

  4. Jen,
    I am planning the stations for the first full day also. Do you happen to have these cards typed up anywhere? I love the bright colors too!


  5. I LOVE this! I'm so glad I came across where you'd posted the link on one of the Facebook groups! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Mixing it up on day one with diverse stations is an electrifying approach to engage and captivate learners. By offering a spectrum of interactive learning stations, from hands-on activities to multimedia presentations, it sparks curiosity and accommodates diverse learning styles. This innovative strategy fosters a dynamic learning environment, encouraging exploration and collaborative participation from the get-go. It’s an invigorating way to set the tone for a vibrant and immersive learning experience, ensuring that every participant finds their unique path to knowledge on day one!

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