Start the school year with independent learning activities that allow you to learn about your students and them to learn about each other and their school community. You will find in these task cards over 50 activities that will motivate students to produce projects that engage their multiple intelligences and thinking skills.
I started the year last year with my grade 6 students using this unit and it was a hit. I set up the posters around the room like task cards. I set out the materials they would need and allowed them to choose which tasks to do in whichever order they liked. I was able to teach class rules and routines around centres and independent work, I was able to see where each students interests lay and their strengths (the mural looked incredible thanks to a couple of extrodinary artists and we ended up with a class theme song thanks to a duo who teamed up to create a song with dance moves; the 3D model was a bit wonky but added a certain something when displayed in the class). While the students were working independently, I was able to do preassessments and focus on getting to know the students. There were no behaviour problems because I allowed students to choose 1 activity from 6 of the 10 areas and if they thought of a better idea I let them go with it.
I had incredible work displayed around the room and in the corridor, a good understanding where the students were at in terms of ability and interests and the foundation of a good working relationship all in the span of two weeks.