Our first day of school is an alternative schedule because we spend about 3 1/2 hours before lunch in our 1st period going over our school discpline system reviewing and setting the tone for citizenship. The rest of the 6 periods are about 20 minutes. Barely time to take attendance and learn new names.
So I have them do a scavenger hunt of the room. This allows kids that have been in the room before to review and noticed if I have moved things around, and allows new kids to explore the room. I just hand it to them as they walk in the door and allow them to start looking around. I encourage them to move around, work alone or with a friend and I have little rewards for the first three finishers with correct answers.
It askes them some basic things like “In which center will you find the glue?” but also asks them to look at my posters around the room or engage previous knowledge, “Name a warm color.” “List a style of art” (both can be found on posters if they haven’t learned that before.) Others ask things that vary from kid to kid, “name someone you know in this class” and “which center will be your favorite?”
Since I work in trimesters, I do this at the beginning of each trimester art class. It also counts for a little 5 point grade. Also since we tend to have a lot of kids coming IN and OUT of classes throughout the first couple weeks of school, I have them do the scavenger hunt first, with or without some help depending on if they are totally new to my room. It is the way I make sure all new kids get a tour.
Last year is the first time I did this and it really worked well. So I have revised the hunt for this year, to make it fresh for kids from last year. Plus I have moved a few things around.