With the way we were rostered students, I saw a particular student (6th, 7th or 8th grade - it didn't matter) once on Monday or Tuesday and then a second time that week on either Thursday or Friday. They weren't necessarily in the same group of students either.
We knew we had to take the time upfront to build this new community. The schedule of this class was brand new to us and would be rather irregular for our students. We needed to start of the year strong. We needed to build a community. We needed to have fun.
I always began the school year with a First Day of School Quiz on the very first day of class and I was not going to stop that tradition just because of PLUS. My coteacher and I drafted five questions each for our quiz and handed it out to every student those first two days. We probably made over 500 copies (don't tell) but it was probably the quickest way for our students to see that we were normal human beings.
Then we had to go outside. We had to. Because our school doesn't have air conditioning. And we can't prop open our doors. Or open our windows. #safetyfirst But we can take all seventy of our students outside for a game.
We played Protect the President. It was the perfect game to play, especially with our mixed classes of 6th/8th graders and 7th/8th graders.
Here's a clip of one of the classes. It was a 6th/8th grade combo class with 7th grade student assistants. And it was the best.
Everything we did on the first day played out for the entire year. Students constantly asked if we would play Protect the President again. Sometimes we did. Most of the time we taught them new collaborative games.
Looking back, fun is always the best way to start off a new school year.