Get your new year off to a fun start with an easy first day of school cooperative learning activity! The first day of school is a unique day, and it calls for some special events to help pave the way for a great year. Help your students begin to form a strong sense of community with this cooperative learning structure called Corners.
First Day of School Cooperative Learning Activity
Here’s how to play Corners with your upper elementary students:
1. Ask students a question to which you have selected four pre-determined answers.
- Question: What kind of personality do you have?
- Answers: friendly, quiet, daring, laid back
2. Students think about their response before moving to the corner that best represents their answer.
- Create posters – one answer per poster – for a total of four posters. Display the posters in four different corners (or areas) of your classroom.
3. Students in the same corner now form a group and discuss the answer to the question.
- Students can give an example of a time when they demonstrated their particular personality trait.
- The teacher should circulate among the groups and facilitate discussion as needed.
4. One person from each group paraphrases the group’s discussion.
- Call on a volunteer to share what the group discussed before having the students return to their seats.
Fun with Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning structures are great to use all year long, and not just for community building activities. When I teach students about opportunity cost during our economics unit, I have them make economic choices using the Corners structure. I also love to get kids out of their seats with grammar review and cooperative learning. I use Mix-Freeze-Pair to practice identifying different types of sentences. You can read more about it in this post and grab a free resource to help you do it yourself. Cooperative learning structures are the framework and your curriculum provides the content. Pairing both together offers teachers an almost endless selection of engaging, rigorous learning for students.
Put It Together
Making a Corners cooperative learning activity is a snap. Just think of some questions and four basic answers for each question. Write your answer choices on a full-size sheet of paper or construction paper. Make sure you write large enough for students to easily see the choices from across the room. Grab some tape or sticky tack and display your posters in the four corners of your classroom.
You can get started by downloading a FREE set of posters for yourself, or I’ve created an entire packet of posters with 10 questions that will keep your students happily engaged on the first day of school. You can find the complete set of posters in my TpT store HERE.
Give this easy first day of school cooperative learning activity a try with your students, or if you have your own activity that you love, please share in the comments below!