Warm-Up Discussions for the New School Year

September 12, 2017
David J. Adam

The new school year is upon us, and everyone’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, back in their seats, eager to challenge themselves and learn, learn, LEARN! Well, maybe not. We’ve all been there; reseting your young students back into mindful, productive ways of thinking can be a bit like herding unwieldy cattle.

You may find it difficult to jump right back into the swing of things. That’s perfectly normal. After all, a preferred classroom dynamic takes time to settle into. Here are my most effective warm-up discussion questions to ease you and your students into the new year. They’re also a great way for everyone to learn more about each other. Think of them as ice-breakers, but without all the ghastly tension. Be sure to toss a couple of “softballs” to the quieter kids along the way.

Starting things fun and loose:

  • What was something creative that you did or made this summer?
  • How did you help someone this summer?
  • What did you do for the 4th of July?
  • What was your favorite book or movie of the summer? Why?
  • What was your favorite song of the summer? Why?
  • What was something unexpected that happened this summer?
  • What was something interesting that you learned this summer?
  • What was a challenge you faced this summer? How did you overcome it?

Steering things back to the school environment:

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew last year?
  • Who were your favorite instructors last year? What made them special?
  • What was your most favorite class topic in recent memory? Why?
  • What was your least favorite class topic in recent memory? Why?
  • What kinds of educational activities have you enjoyed the most?
  • Was there ever a school subject or topic you had little interest in but ended up enjoying?
  • What are you most proud of from the last school year?
  • What is one thing you can do to improve your work performance from last year?

Pick your favorite questions beforehand, or play it by ear and see what your students respond best to. Consider coming up with your own “transition” question to wrap things up and kickstart interest in the new lessons. Of course, be sure the discussions stay positive and fun, and don’t let the class get too far off-track before you get down to business!

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