First Day of School Balloon Activity


The story behind this first day of school activity is actually when we both discovered we were teaching in the same district! When we both got hired, our district offered a literacy training for all new teachers.  We were super surprised to see each other because it had been some time since high school.  Our instructor started the training with a really fun get to know you activity that we have both incorporated into our classrooms for the last decade! It's great for building classroom community and you can make variations to make it the best fit for your class. 

Here's how it works!


First, each student receives a balloon and a small piece of paper on their desk. We just cut up scratch paper, you don't have to be fancy! :) 


Then, they write down 3 interesting true facts.  In order for this activity to be successful, ask students to write down facts that are not too common.  Give them some examples as we have shown above. They need to keep these facts private and not share them with their classmates.


Finally, have the students fold up their paper, place in the balloon, and blow it up.  DISCLAIMER: When we did this in 4th grade, about half the students knew how to tie a balloon and the other half asked us.  That led to tying some spitty balloons (gross, we know).  Ask ahead of time if anyone needs help for you to blow it up.

Once the balloons are done, place them in a corner of the class.  Now, the fun begins! Explain to the kids that this activity is going to show them interesting things about their classmates and they are going to see how much they have in common with each other.  Ask all students to stand up.  Take a balloon and pop it (another disclaimer, some kids want a heads up because the sound might startle them).  As you read each fact aloud, tell the kids that if they agree with that statement they remain standing.  For example, if the first fact says, "I like the color blue" then they remain standing if they also like blue.  If they don't agree with that particular fact, they sit down.  Now, once they sit down they can't stand back up.  So, if the next fact is, "I went to Disneyland this summer" and they are sitting down, they can't stand up.  We hope that makes sense? Eventually, after all 3 facts are read, the student who wrote those facts should be the only one remaining standing.  BUT! The great thing is sometimes more than one student is standing because those three students might share the same interesting facts.  If that is the case, ask the person to reveal themselves and everyone else to sit down.  Then, we ask the student to tell us more about one of those facts.  If they wrote that they had a dog, we ask about the name and type.  If they write about a vacation spot, we ask them to share more about it. 

We do this throughout the day so it's not 30 something balloons popping at once.  It keeps the kids excited to learn about each other and the little "pop" wakes everyone up :).  Don't forget to include yourself.  The kids love it when everyone sits down and they realize the facts were about the teacher.  Also, you don't have to read the facts in order.  Try to pick facts that are more common at first.  We always learn so much about the kids through this simple activity.


The past few years, we have made variations with this activity and given them an index card to write down the three facts.  We then shuffle them up and just pull them out of a box.  Not as fun without the pop, but if you forgot to buy balloons or don't want to deal with them, it still works and the kids still have fun.  

We'd love to hear if you try this out in your class!




1 comment


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