Engage students on day one of school with one of the most important lessons all year- "why do we study history?" This is a lesson that will pay off dividends all year long and is great and its great for any age group!
In this "why do we study history" lesson, students go around the room to 6 different stations and record reasons to study history, discuss what each means and why its important. After hitting each station, they rank them in order of importance (either with their small groups or individually) and then debate as a class. I like to send students to the station they think is best to get more movement on day one. Think about this- students are actually debating with one another one why its so important we study history! Can you ask for more on day one? Then, they complete a short, structured writing arguing the best reason to study history. This also gives you an idea on their writing skills. All important things for a first day lesson for history class.
Then there is an extension activity, where I provide 8 events from history (like the holocaust, civil rights movement, black death) and students choose which reason to study history makes most sense for that topic and explain.
Throughout the year, I like to close each unit with a debate on why it was important to study X issue (the Rennaissance, World War II, the American Revolution) to ensure students are finding relevance in class. This is powerful stuff- imagine an administrator comes in and sees your students discussing and debating why what you study with them is so vital to learn!
👊Skip the syllabus and boring team building, and get students really engaged with this lesson which is the best first day activity for history class!