Get Your Students Interacting on the 1st day of School

Your teacher planning days are almost over. You have your class list and the pile of IEPs sitting in front of you. You know what each student needs to work on and your room is all set up! Congratulations! Now what are you going to do on the very first day of school? 
In special education it's very common to have the same kids year after year with perhaps 1 or 2 new ones thrown in. How do you meld these groups together into 1 awesome classroom. 
With a class like this it will be very important to work on making the new kids feel welcome and part of the group while acknowledging the kids from the previous year(s) as experienced. 
What can you do ? 
Here's an idea I have used for many years, adapting it as the technology changed from drawing pictures to taking pictures to taking selfies.

On orientation day spend a few moments one on one time with each student and help them take a selfie with your camera phone. They LOVE being part of one of those special moments you put on your phone. You can use these to complete this Getting Acquainted First day activity.
Once the selfies have been taken,  print them out in a format that works best for you. Here is one that worked for me.
You can print one: 5 in. X 5 in.  at the top and multiple smaller ones on the bottom of the paper. 1 inch X 1 inch worked for me.
Print these on adhesive paper.
Cut the big picture off and  have the kids peel the paper from the backs and attach theirs in their big square at the top of the page.
Cut the little pictures apart and put each child's pictures in a separate container. I have used zip bags, envelopes and even plastic screw-top containers.
To play this Activity- each student should have:
1. Selfie activity page with their selfie affixed to the big square located at the top of the page.
2. One container of the small  selfies with their picture on them.

Here's how to play!

Object of the activity: Collect as many mini selfie pics of other students that have likenesses similiar to their own.

  1. Students use the picture clues in the mini selfie squares to approach another classmate and see if  they have the specific item in common with the classmate their approach. 
  2. If the specific items (i.e eyes, hair etc) match, then the classmates exchange mini selfie stamps and place them on their selfie papers on top of the item they have in common. Example: If Brad approaches a classmate because they have the same color pants on, they exchange mini-selfie stamps and fasten them to one of the pants squares on their papers.
  3. Student continue approaching different students and exchanging mini selfie stamps with those having matching items with them.
  4. First student to fill up (or have the most) the mini-selfie stamps correctly "wins". You can also eliminate the "winner" portion of this activity and use the time instead for a conversation about what makes each "friends" similar to them. 

With an activity such as this, you have provided an opportunity for new and old students to open new pathways of communication about their similarities and given them common factors to start great new friendships on.
This activity is available in my TPT store free for a limited time. You can find it here:

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