It's August and teachers are scrambling to set up their classrooms and prepare for the first day of classes and students arrival. Consider throwing a Happy New school Year party! This is a theme I have done for quite a while and the students LOVE IT! Of course all great teachers know the importance of connections with students that begin with greeting them at the classroom door. I greet them at the door with a smile and a noise maker! They look at you with a puzzled face and know immediately that this 1st day of school will be like no other! When they arrive at their seat, they find a Happy New Year hat or tiara, a lei, and a goodie bag filled with a pencil, eraser, candy, crazy sunglasses, silly lips and a class name word search (made on puzzlemaker.com). On the back of their chairs, students find a balloon. To start the party we yell, "Happy New Year!" and then pop the balloons. Inside the balloons, I placed a little silly note. The students find the notes on the floor and begin reading them. The notes are an ice breaker or mixer activity. Students are directed to find someone who...and then they are directed to introduce themselves to each other...then they must do a silly task written on the note with a peer (like jump up and down 10 times while singing the birthday song or lock arms and skip in a circle singing ring around the rosy) and finally...the note tells them to high five each other and shout, "It's going to be a great year!" The students are hooked right away and are on the edge of their seats waiting for more! Doing fun things with your students at the beginning of the school year builds caring connections that will guarantee that It's Going To Be A Great Year!!!