First Day of School Activities to Motivate School Staff & Students

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Pride in Education - Academic Planner

As someone working in the educational environment, you are not new to back-to-school activities which welcome everyone back from the summer break. With carefully planned events, you can ensure that not only students feel excited to begin a school year, but also teachers and staff get a boost to their motivation.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Appreciation gifts for teachers and staff.

Surprise teachers and staff with small appreciation gifts, like academic planners to keep them organized, coffee mugs to kick-start their morning, water bottles to stay hydrated, custom USB flash drives to keep their class materials in one place and so on! These are great ways to lift school spirit and promote the importance of education.

Bonus:  Get all of these items personalized with a school’s name and mascot! Depending on your budget and quantity, sometimes it is cheaper to get custom pens or mugs in bulk rather than making a stop at Walmart or Target.

Have a cookout with outdoor activities.

After a summer break, there’s a lot of catching up to do. A cookout is a great way to see everyone outside sharing their summer stories, having fun, and making friends.

Encourage everybody to play a game of volleyball, badminton, or soccer. This would be an opportunity for new students and staff to meet each other, form relationships, and encourage a sense of community.

Make sure to have other outdoor activities, such as contests or drawings.  The prize could be any of the school supplies we’ve described above, but also consider giving out custom backpacks filled with other gifts.

Recruit students for extra-curricular activities.

Whether it’s a baseball team, a drama club, or a volunteering organization, get students involved! Set up booths where current members can talk about the benefits of the club, brag about the club’s involvement and accomplishments, and show photos.  Offering small gifts to drive sign-ups (or entering them in a drawing) is a good tactic and proven to be popular among students.

Plan an event to boost school spirit.

Encourage students and staff to be excited and proud of their school by planning a school spirit event – a pep rally!  Make your event special by handing out gifts featuring the school name and mascot, such as custom t-shirts, hats, keychains, and water bottles.  Receiving these items will make your students feel appreciated and feel like they are part of the school team!

These events are great opportunities to showcase your school’s talent – sports players, singers, dancers, artists and more.  Schedule performances and speeches that rally the students and staff to make them excited about the new school year.


Planning events like these could be daunting, but the payoff is well worth it.  Students and staff who are motivated and have school pride will certainly start the school year off on the right track.  Simply start with day one and make every day count — motivate, motivate, motivate!

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One thought on “First Day of School Activities to Motivate School Staff & Students

  1. Hi Allison,
    I do custom staff shirts and spirit wear for schools and teams. I would love to have a chance to link our website to one of your articles. I enjoy reading your work.
    Just let me know and I can send you any info you need. Thank you!
    Jen Taves
    Jen Taves | Spirit Wear Coordinator

    Blue 84 Spirit
    750 Randolph Road | Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
    Office: 218.846.3095 | Fax: 218.209.4075

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