I use these activities at the beginning of every school year in my 8th grade Social Studies class (US History focus). This set of activities will take you through the first 3-5 days of school and asks students to investigate what The American Dream is to them. They will read/discuss quotes and primary sources, interview their family members and ultimately create a bumper sticker to illustrate what they believe The American Dream is. Primary sources include excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech, Susan B. Anthony's "Speech on Women's Rights to Vote" and the Declaration of Independence. You can easily incorporate these activities around the "house-keeping" of those first days of back to school. Some of the activities are group activities which provide ice-breaker opportunities as your students get to know each other. The lessons could be adapted for upper elementary students with some scaffolding and assistance with passages.
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.