There's no excitement like the The-first-day-of-school excitement! I don't care how many years you teach that very first day is full of nerves, jitters and joys.
During the first week of school my plans include activities that give students time to get to know each other and build a sense of family and belonging. One activity that gets them working together is this word building game. It's super simple and the kids always love it.
Begin by putting dividing your class into groups of four or five students. Give each group a baggie with a set of letters. Tell them that each group is going to see how many words they can make with the letters. It's always interesting to observe how the groups begin this little group activity. You'll quickly see some of their personalities come out.
What the students don't know is the letters spell something special. I like seeing if any group figures that out on their own. After about 15 minutes I ask if anyone has figured out the word that can be made using all the letters. (Click on the graphic to download the free activity.)