Get ready to go back to school!
Teachers and students come to school bringing a wide range of backgrounds, languages, abilities, and temperaments. Get things off to the best start by asking them to respect their differences and make the most of their similarities. By sharing information on their lives and dreams, students and teachers can build community in the classroom that will support literacy instruction throughout the school year.
The first weeks of school can set the tone for the rest of the year, so community-building is a priority. Ask students to share details about their lives with one another using the interactive Graphic Map.
- Ask students to identify key moments in their lives. Younger students can brainstorm a list of events from the summer, while older students might focus more specifically on significant events from previous years at school.
- Have students assign a positive or negative value to each event based on their feelings about it. Happy events like "meeting a new friend" would have a high number, and sad events like "having to leave a sibling at home" would have a lower number.
- Once students have gathered their ideas, ask them to publish the entries using the interactive Graphic Map. Have students record a brief description and include an image for each memory. If computers are not available, have students draw graphics and add captions for their memories on construction paper.
- When everyone has completed their graphic maps, invite students to share their memories in small groups or with the whole class. Encourage students to look for feelings that they have all experienced and to identify details that they want to know more about.
See the Graphic Map page for more information and activities for this interactive tool.
This booklist, compiled by ReadWriteThink, names texts that can be shared with Grades K–2 and Grades 3–5 students during the first few days of school.
This NCTE resource provides additional lesson plans, teaching strategies, journal articles, and more to help the first weeks in the classroom flow more smoothly.
This article from KidsHealth includes tips for dealing with first-day jitters, the first day at middle school, and getting a good start.
Older students can find resources on this KidsHealth site to help make the first days of school more successful. The site includes topics such as choosing extracurricular activities and dealing with bullying.
Compiled by ReadWriteThink, this booklist suggests titles that can be shared with students in Grades 6-9 during the beginning weeks of school.