Why is culture-building important for the first day and week of school?

Starting the school year with culture-building activities can have a profound impact on the classroom environment and student engagement. By prioritizing the development of a positive and inclusive classroom culture, teachers can create a safe and welcoming space for their students to learn and grow. Accompanied by Flocabulary videos and songs, culture building activities for the first day of school will provide engaging ways to foster connections among students, encourage goal-setting, promote compassion, and align on class rules.

Here’s a look into the video lessons Flocabulary has to offer!

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Culture-building first day of school activities

With a year’s worth of standards and lessons ahead of you, it can be tempting to get started with that first book or math concept on the first day of school. This year, try holding off for a few days. The time you spend building a positive classroom culture in the first few weeks of school will pay return every day of the year. To help you build a compassionate and invested group of students, we present to you 5 engaging activities that you can use on the first day of school (or the first few weeks). Each includes at least one Flocabulary song and video to provide a musical starting point for discussions on talents, bullying, goal-setting, and more.

1. Share unique talents

We've Got Talent video lesson for culture building activities

Help students get to know their new classmates by sharing hidden talents, large and small. When students learn about each other’s unique skills to break the ice, they develop a greater sense of community and acceptance.

  • Activity: Play “We’ve Got Talent,” a vocabulary video about students’ strange and fantastic abilities. Then provide time for students to either display their talents or write a few lines of rhymes for an academic rap about their skills.

2. Set ambitious and realistic goals

The beginning of the school year is a time to think big and build classroom culture. This activity will encourage students to think about their big goals–both inside and outside the classroom. Use this video lesson as a first day of school activity to introduce students to goal setting.

I Want Fame video lesson first day of school activities
  • Activity: Watch our vocabulary song “I Want Fame.” It’s all about a kid named Nate who wants nothing more than to be famous. Ask students to consider whether they think this is a good goal or not. Then have students state their ambitions and goals and write down the steps they can take in class this year to help them reach the goal.
  • Activity: Additionally, the Goal Setting song teaches criteria for setting and reaching goals using the SMART acronym. Students learn to set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-based.

3. Create a compassionate & safe space

When students feel safe and respected, it is easy to learn. Having a frank discussion about compassion and bullying up front will set expectations for a positive classroom and provide culture building opportunities while also making it easier to handle difficult situations that may arise later.

  • Activity: Watch two vocabulary videos: “Have Compassion,” a story about what happens when a kid does the right thing on the bus, and “Scarface“, a story about the perils of bullying. Use the stories as an opportunity to open up conversations about bullying. Students may want to talk about times that they or someone they knew was bullied and how they felt. Then, make the class policies on bullying clear.
Have Compassion video lesson for culture building
Scarface SEL video lesson

4. Introduce the concept of code-switching

The language that kids use in the lunchroom is different than the language they use in the classroom. But it doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong, only that certain types of English are appropriate for different situations. This is called “code-switching,” and it is a crucial skill to get ahead with culture building in the classroom and outside of it too.

  • Activity: Choose your favorite Flocabulary song that has slang in it. Or ask students to bring in one of their favorite songs. Then read the first paragraph of a sample essay for the class. Ask students to describe the differences and then have a discussion about why both forms of language are necessary and have their place. You could even ask students to “translate” a texting conversation they recently had into “Standard English.” Set clear expectations about the types of language that will be required in your classroom.

5. Create global citizens

Students always want to know, “How can I use this in real life?” What better way to answer that than to bring “real life” into the classroom with Flocabulary’s weekly current events video that you can use throughout the school year, The Week in Rap.

The Week in Rap lessons
  • Activity: Explain to students that when they have a good idea of major news stories, they will frequently see how their studies relate. Review the top news of the week by watching your favorite Flocabulary. Discuss the stories that are most interesting to your class. Explain to students that you’ll be watching it each Friday and that you’ll be asking students each week to make connections between classroom subjects and real-world topics.

Put these first day of school activities into action!

By utilizing the engaging resources and videos offered by Flocabulary, teachers can create a classroom environment that promotes community, acceptance, and personal growth. These activities not only help students get to know each other and foster a sense of belonging but also encourage them to set ambitious yet realistic goals for themselves. Happy back to school season!

Captivate students and make learning experiences memorable and interesting through Flocabulary. Sign up below to access the activities and lessons shared in this blog post!

Source: https://blog.flocabulary.com/culture-building-first-day-of-school-activities/