I typically spread my course info and getting to know you type stuff throughout the first four days of class. I then save the second half of each class for actual content. I feel like I do better to set up the expectations for the class if my students see content and have a homework assignment from day 1.
That said, we have a class called 'primetime' at my school. This is basically like a home room, but we only meet 9 times per year. We meet for progress reports and report cards as well as other special information (graduation practice info, locker cleanout, etc) throughout the year. I will be meeting with this group for two hours on the first day of school. One hour of that time is for class meetings and the other half is planned by the teacher. Typically we read important passages in the handbook and give out school documents (free and reduced lunch, picture day, yearbook order forms, parking pass applications, and such).
This year, I was lucky enough to win a breakout box from BreakoutEdu at EdCamp Hershey. I just had to pay shipping and handling. I placed my order on July 19th, but there is a five week processing time right now, so it may or may not arrive in time for the first day of class on August 29th. If it does arrive in time, I'll be doing a breakout lesson with my primetime. By the way, BreakoutEdu provides information on how to create your own kit from Amazon. However, if you buy from BreakoutEdu, they use the proceeds to provide free boxes for EdCamps.
The basic idea is that it's like a breakout room. Of course we can not lock the kids in our room, but we can lock something they would like/need in a box. They solve a series of problems to unlock several locks and finally gain access to the needed item.
Here is the scenario for the lesson that I'd like to do:
The cool thing about these lessons, besides being super engaging is that all the resources that you need are included. All you need to do is print and set your locks up. You just need to sign-up for a free account to access the password for all the lessons.
Even if my breakout box does not arrive in time, I still plan on using the box as a review activity for my math classes. There are lots of pre-made games with great stories. I'll probably need to modify an existing story to make it fit with the review content that I want.
I'm really looking forward to using this resource this year. I'll be sure to write a blog post after implementing a breakout!