How do you rid your students of the back-to-school jitters? Calm their nerves with these first day jitters activities.
What Are the First Day Jitters?
The new school year ushers in fresh anxieties for students. It’s fear of the unknown!
Brand new students don’t know their teachers, classmates, or even their way around the school building.
Returning students will have new classmates and a new teacher.
They may worry about what’s expected of them regarding behavior and academic performance.
You can help eliminate the jitters with these first day jitters activities.
Welcome Students with a Joke
You can ease the tension by starting the day with a laugh.
Add a joke to your morning routine.
Are you in need of some jokes kids will love?
Try these Jokes for Kids! This digital pack has one joke for every day of the school year (plus bonus jokes!).
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Take Attendance and Get to Know Your Students
Your students want to know about you, and they want to get to know one another.
You can start building classroom community by taking attendance differently.
Instead of asking if a child is present, as a get-to-know-you or opinion question instead.
Here are a few examples:
“Does a straw have one hole or two?”
“Are video games a sport?”
“Is a burrito a sandwich?”
You can find many interesting and imaginative questions with these 180 Attendance Questions.
Take a Brain Break That Gets Kids Moving
Movement is a great way to ease first day jitters.
Take breaks between subjects and get your students up and moving!
You can take a quick dance party break. (Check out this ultimate classroom playlist for song options.)
You can also try Would You Rather Questions.
These Back to School Would You Rather Questions are perfectly themed for the time of year. (We have other packs as well.)
You can get kids up and moving with Would You Rather Questions by asking them to move to one side of the room or the other based on their answers.
Make Learnings Hands-On and Cooperative
Hands-on learning is not only exciting and fun for students; it helps reduce anxiety.
You can give students a STEM problem-solving challenge.
It’s also a great time to begin cooperative learning. This will help students get to know one another and make friends, easing first-day jitters.
Plan for Quiet Work as Well
Some students can get overstimulated by the constant noise and activity, so make sure you also have some quiet activities.
These growth mindset handwriting pages fit the bill. Plus, they help cultivate a growth mindset. Win-win!
Read a Book They Can Relate To
The first day jitters are pretty common.
You can read a book to your students to let them know they are not alone in their feelings.
This is one of the most calming first day jitters activities.
Here are some great options:
This book is about a shy student named Sarah Jane who is feeling the first day jitters. She is reassured when she gets to school and realizes other students feel the same way!
H.A. Rey’s lovable monkey George has his first day of school–and he has the jitters too!
Even fairies feel the jitters on their first day of school!
Have a Calming Classroom Atmosphere
Students can be soothed by their environment.
Make your classroom a welcoming place.
Play some soothing music.
Lay out a fuzzy rug or fluffy pillows in the reading corner.
Supplemental lighting can help cast a soft glow (unlike overhead fluorescent lighting).
You can also add some sensory toys or activities to a learning station as a way for kids to decompress.
First Day Jitters Activities
These first day jitters activities will help iron out any worries and smooth the way toward a wonderful first day of school.
Try a few or all seven and watch those jitters disintegrate!