A new bag, a new pair of shoes, and a new pencil case can mean only one thing: It’s back-to-school time! We hope your students will put as much effort into making a great first impression as you have.
Making a positive start sets the tone for a successful year. So, we have curated a set of back-to-school discussions perfect for engaging your new students!
Breaking the ice with new students
It’s impossible to predict how the start of the year will go, and (whisper it) we know that teachers get nervous too! Having a bank of pre-prepared resources can calm those nerves — why not use one of our icebreaker discussions to connect with your students and get them comfortable with their new classmates? Holding instantly accessible discussions on topics such as bringing pets to school or the pros and cons of fame will put both you and your students at ease.
Best of all, as we’ve already done the hard work of setting up the discussion topics and prompts, you can relax and squeeze every last second out of the summer break!
Holding discussions on school issues
Once you have broken the ice, try diving into more in-depth discussions. It’s best to select a topic familiar to all students, so discussions on school life are the obvious choice! You can gain an insight into students’ opinions and engagement levels while helping them develop critical thinking skills.
Moreover, the written format of a Kialo Edu discussion allows you to quickly assess students’ basic grammar and orthography in a low-stakes activity. Here are some discussions to try!
Should schools start later in the day?
As you survey the sea of yawning faces in your classroom, there might seem to be an easy answer to this question. Use this topic as a chance to challenge your students to take the contrarian position! Would students really want to hit the snooze button after all?
Should art and music be taught in school?
Students are sure to hold strong opinions on the subjects they have to study. In this discussion, students can compose claims about having these types of non-academic classes in school. What conclusions will your students draw?
Should students be forced to learn math?
Math is another subject that divides opinion. Some students might love its abstract wonders, while others dread the mere thought of a math lesson. Students are sure to have a number of points to make in this discussion — just make sure they don’t go off on a tangent!
And, if you are an art, music, or math teacher, don’t worry! You can take your revenge by creating a discussion featuring your own choice of subject to expel from the curriculum!
Should academic testing be banned for students under 14?
It’s only the start of the year, but students’ thoughts may already be on assessments. Tests seem like an inescapable part of school life, but are they really necessary for younger pupils? Your students may be in favor of canceling them, but having to add both pros and cons to the argument map means they learn to consider multiple perspectives.
Should there be single-gender schools?
Depending on the grade and type of school, you might see a clear gender divide if you allow students to choose their seats at the start of the year. In fact, working in a co-ed school can feel as though you have stepped into Grease’s Rydell High, with the Pink Ladies on your left and the T-Birds on your right — and you in the middle meditating on any associated problems! A single-gender school could remove some of these issues but may create others. Ask your students if they think there should be single-gender schools.
Should bullies be expelled?
As the year begins, it’s crucial to discuss behavior expectations. Students are sure to raise the issue of bullying, so use this discussion to discover their views on its consequences. This can be an emotive issue, so try making this an anonymous discussion to encourage students to offer honest opinions. Addressing the subject of bullying now may preempt problems later in the year.
Whilst a great option for engaging new classes, Kialo Edu discussions are not just for the start of the year! Our library is bursting with discussion topics, searchable by curriculum subject and age. It’s regularly updated, so we’d love to hear your ideas for the discussions you would like to hold with students this year. Contact us at email@example.com, or via Facebook or Twitter. Good luck for the new year!