I would like to share with you a community building activity. This makes a great 1st homework assignment. The name of this activity is "Artifact Bags" or "About Me Bags." I have used this strategy with first and second graders, as well as adults.
Each student will need a brown paper lunch bag. They are to place 4 objects inside which represent themselves. For example, I would put a small book to represent my love for reading, a tiny fake apple for teaching, a piece of chocolate for my love of chocolate and small set of knitting needles for, you guessed it, knitting. Have them put a photo of themselves in the bag as well. No names.
Collect all the bags in a large decorated box. Throughout the first 2 weeks of school you will share these bags with the whole class and they will guess who the person is, based on the contents. If the class guesses correctly then you take the photo out. If they don't guess correctly, you put everything back into the back and you do that one again another time.
You have to prep the students before you begin because they get very excited when there bag is being shared and give away who it belongs to. So, you need to talk to them about body language and not calling out what the objects represent.
This is a great strategy for students to discover what they have in common with each other. It helps everyone to learn something they may not know about their friend.
Don't forget to include a bag for yourself.
My next blog will be how to take this up a notch with a graphic organizer.