When making a fresh start with a new class, the room can quickly fill with anticipation and nervousness - for the children and the teacher. But with the right icebreaking activity, your first lesson can be a great way to introduce your students to your way of working and to get a good understanding of their current abilities.
I always plan a non-threatening lesson that children will enjoy and that will allow their personalities to shine through. I start by turning off the lights, lighting candles and playing some calming music. Then I place a selection of items that are precious to me on the carpet: ski goggles, a spoon and a DVD.
As the children come in, I ask them to sit in a circle on the carpet around the pile of mysterious objects.
The classroom hums with the children's murmurings as they whisper to their friends about what they can see in front of them. I tell the pupils that I have brought these objects in from home and ask what my choices tell them about me. They are quick to guess my interests and passions (skiing, desserts and films).
I explain that our favourite objects can help us to be creative, and that it is now their turn.
Splitting the pupils into groups of four, I ask them to draw pictures of their favourite items on a large piece of paper. As they are doing this, I encourage them to share their reasons for choosing each object with the other children on their table.
After five minutes of discussion, the group members work together to put all the objects into a single story, trying to link their favourite things into a coherent narrative. They love it.
After a little more time to share ideas, the children are ready to tell their stories to the rest of the class, which usually has us all laughing.
James Holmes is a computer teacher at Cranborne Middle School in Dorset
To download resources for this lesson, visit bit.lyIcebreaker7August