Summer is coming to an end. Rainy, autumn days lie ahead and our carefree days on holiday will soon become distant memories. Another school year is about to begin.

How do you kick off the school year with your pupils? The first weeks of school are the perfect time to set the scene and mood for the upcoming year. Some educators suggest taking advantage of these first weeks of the school year to get to know your pupils and to work on team-building activities.  Other experts suggest making sure pupils are familiar with where they can find things in the classroom and setting up rules and routines to adhere to.

Another thing we can work on in the first few weeks is classroom language. Pupils are creatures of habit and at the start of a new academic year; some children might come across unfamiliar classroom language while they are adjusting to new classmates and teachers at the same time.

If, when pupils are in class, we expect them to listen and to speak in English as much as possible, then we have to do everything we can to get them into the habit of doing so these first few weeks of school.

If we want to take advantage of day-to-day communicative situations that arise in class we need to provide them with the linguistic cues to be able to do so. To this end, here is a list of some classroom language that can be worked on:

Turn on the light. Look at the board.


Open your book. Close the door.
Can I go to the toilet, please? Pick up your pen. Throw your rubbish in the bin. Put your pencil down.
Put your book in your bag. Listen to the song.


It’s your turn. Write your name.


Practise these expressions in different ways, for example, miming and guessing, draw and guess or pairwork. The more familiar pupils are with these terms, the easier it will be for them to understand and use them!

To finish off, a little back to school humour:

Early one morning, a mother went in to wake up her son.

“Wake up, son. It’s time to go to school.”

“But why, mum? I don’t want to go!”

“Give me two good reasons why you don’t want to go.”

“Well, the kids hate me for one, and the teachers hate me, too!”

“Oh, that’s no reason not to go to school. Come on! Get ready!”

“Give me two good reasons why I should go to school.”

“Well, for one, you’re 41 years old. And for another, you’re the Head teacher!”

Check out our Back to School ideas from previous issues of the magazine and let us know what you do to kick off the new year!

The National Education Association also offers a wide range of excellent ideas for this invigorating time of the year.

Good luck getting back into the swing of things after the holidays!


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