new teacher, new year, Reading

What Will You Do the Very First Moment of the First Day of the Year?

image from icanread

Yesterday I started setting up my classroom for next year, yes really, with 2 months almost left of vacation, I couldn’t wait to get in there and see what I needed to change, what worked already, and just fiddle with the room.  As I shelved new books that have found their way into my reading life, I pondered, how will I start this year?

Not how will the day go?  Not what will we do?  But how will I start the day, that very first day, with my so far 26 new students.  In the past we would have done an ice breaker, we would have done a pretend quiz on me (I know it’s mean but funny once the kids get that the quiz is about me and not curriculum), in the past I have even showed them exactly the way I wanted them to enter the room.  Great way to show who is the boss.

This year, I want it to be different though, I want us to focus on our passions and I want that to be the very first thing we do.  So instead of rules, instead of games, I will read a picture book to them.  Invite them to the carpet, tell them to get comfortable, and then share one of my passions; books.  I hope they have the courage to share their thoughts as w read, I hope they have courage to show their emotions as we read, I hope they have the courage to show that even though they are now the oldest kids in the school it is ok to think picture books are magical.

Which book?  I don’t know yet.  It could be the incredible “Bluebird” by Bob Staake, which is just as powerful as any books with words I have ever read.  Or how about the funny “Creepy Carrots” by Aaron Reynolds that show us that things aren’t always as they seem.  Or “This is a Book” by Dimitri Martin which would be a wonderful way to showcase another of my passions; blogging.  Or in the end it may be “Chu’s Day” by Neil Gaiman so that I can tell them that every time I read it aloud to Thea, she giggles when Chu doesn’t sneeze and that she is starting school this week too for the very time and I know that we start a new chapter with her just as I do with my new kids.  Perhaps it will be that one.  No matter the book, though, what matters is the thought behind it.

So what will you do the very first moment with your new kids?

I am a passionate 5th grade teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “The Passionate Learner – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this fall from PLPress.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

8 thoughts on “What Will You Do the Very First Moment of the First Day of the Year?”

  1. Hey Pernille, I love that you will start off with a picture book. What a great idea! I haven't put too much thought into the first day yet, but I'll probably do some variation of a See-Think-Wonder with some student-initiated inquiry. I'll build on what I did last year (

  2. A teacher in my district (grade 6 I think) is starting the year with a completely empty and bare room, and leaving it up to the kids to design it for what they need to learn. Should be interesting…

  3. I've been thinking a lot about the first days of school. I teach in a very small high school that is located on the campus of a community college. Our hallways and classrooms are so boring! I decided that I'm going to have my students paint pictures to hang in the halls for everyone to enjoy. They will do this on the first day of school! I want them to have a chance to get to know each other and to start building a community from Day 1.

  4. Thanks Pernille and others for the great ideas. I love reading picture books to my grade 6/7s so will investigate these titles that are new to me. I also do community and self-esteem building activities in the first month. I am going to continue this throughout the year though with regular class meetings and blogging opportunities to share passions, ideas, feelings, etc. One activity that encourages respect for others is a two-dimensional art project; a collage of photos, pictures, and text about the student's personal and global self (things in the community or world that concern them). These are laminated and used as their desktop. Students take pride in sharing these either orally or with iMovie. Linda Wilson

  5. One of the ways I start the first day is by introducing myself using “Three Trues and a False.” I created four facts about me and the students have to guess which ones are true and which one isn’t. Then, they get to do it. We get to learn about each other, and have fun with it!

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