How to Plan A Great Student Orientation

How to Plan A Great Student Orientation
  • Opening Intro -

    Whether you plan to greet your students virtually or have in-person introductions, student orientation helps students to get to know one another and their new teachers.


And while this year’s student orientation might look a bit different than others, there are numerous activities you can plan to kick off the school year. Below you can find ideas to incorporate into your student orientation to keep attendees engaged.

Ice Breakers

One of the best games to play with a group of people who know very little about one another is two truths and a wish. As you may have guessed, this game is based on two truths and a lie. The main difference is that you want students to provide information on what they hope to achieve.

This usually takes the form of what they hope to have or do in the future. It gives students the opportunity to share insight into who they are and who they hope to become.

This ice breaker can be a great way to get students talking and learning more about one another. They can share their past experiences and connect to one another through these shared backgrounds.

They can also discuss what they hope to achieve in their lives when referring to their wishes. This game has started many friendships and can be a great way to start your student orientation on a positive note.

Group Activities

Student orientation would not be complete without group activities. And while the traditional tour and question and answers session is important, think about putting a new spin on this activity.

A good option is to have the students explore the campus or school building by doing a scavenger hunt.

Depending on the number of students, you can divide them into teams by their grade, dorm building, or dorm floor. Once that is done, hand them a map of all the places the treasures are buried and watch the fun begin.

A cool feature that you can add to the scavenger hunt is custom flags with your school’s logo or crest. This could be a great reward to find at the end of the hunt and serves as a visual display that every team has completed the task.

One more timeless group activity is an ice cream social. If you have a virtual hangout, have students compile their own desserts at home. And if you have the money, spring for giving out small gift cards so that students can pick up ice cream from the local store.

However, if you are able to do this activity in person, you can have students socially distance themselves and designate staff members to be in charge of dispensing the ice cream and toppings. That way, everyone can enjoy interacting safely.

The great thing about ice cream socials is that they can be solo activities or part of a larger program such as an outdoor picnic or party. No matter what, students will definitely enjoy this type of event.

Advanced Readings

Okay, this idea may or may not initially be appealing to students. But it helps to put some academic material into student orientation. You can choose from a variety of books or even long-form articles for this activity.

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Some teachers like to focus on a topic that is relevant to their students or one that is part of a larger current events issue. No matter what you choose, have the students read the piece in advance so that they can discuss it while together.

Make sure you have critical thinking questions planned to ask them in advance. Think about both the broader themes the reading presents. And then drill down into the details. Be sure to connect the topic to the students and ask how they would react as the main character or leader.

Inspiration for the reading material for the assignment can be found at NPR.

Also, if the topic chosen is particularly controversial, feel free to start a debate! Place students on teams and have a prize for the winners.

Student orientation is an exciting time to get to know classmates and teachers. By incorporating some of the above ideas, you have the makings of a great new school year. Enjoy this year’s educational journey!

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