Remember when you were a kid and you had to do some first day of school writing? The traditional essay topic used to "what I did on my summer vacation," or some similar variant.
Well, now it's the first day of school again! But this time you are the teacher, and you are the one watching the kids are all excited, all a flush showing off their new clothes, catching up on gossip and sussing out their new teacher.
What do you have planned? Some fun activities? Checking your class list and explaining all of the rules and class procedures. Check, check, check. Itwith e all know that the first day of school sets the precedent for the rest of the year, and although kids may expect to have a "free day," it's a good idea to get them doing some writing on the first day of class. You might choose to go with the traditional essay, or get them started in the practice of journal writing. Either way, you send the message that writing is important to you. Starting them writing also gives you an excellent opportunity for to get to know your students, and to assess their writing skills!
On this page, I will share specific writing prompts that you can use for your first day of school. Some of these ideas could be used for either an actual essay, or as short journal assignments. It is up you how much production you want to see from your students on this first day of class.
A few hints on this first assignment. The best way to encourage students to write freely is to tell them they will not be marked on this one. It's a "freebie," so to speak. And although you won't be marking it, you will be looking at. Tell the students it's a chance for you to get to know them better, which it is. As well as getting to know them better as people, you will also be getting to know them better as students: their strengths and weaknesses as writers and thinkers.
You may also consider completing the assignment yourself, too. This has a couple of strong advantages. First of all, it will give you an exemplar to use with the students, to give them an idea of what to write, and how much to write. Secondly, by sharing your thoughts with the students, you are helping them to get to know you as well.
Many of these prompts are ones that I have used, with variation, in my own classroom over the years. I like to make the first day of class interesting, but also a bit challenging. As you plan for your first day of the year, I wish you an excellent year. Happy teaching!
My Summer Vacation Prompts
This group of "back to school" prompts focus on what the students did in the summer. This is a very traditional topic but it can still work. The advantage of these prompts is that they are about what a student knows. And these are more creative variations of the "what did you do on your summer vacation" given so often through the years.
Yearly Goals Prompts
Another excellent subject for "first day of class" writing is to ask students to set some goals for themselves. Now, on the first day, these goals will probably not be well-defined, but they can help to get the student back into "school mode," and thinking about what she would like to accomplish.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Getting To Know You Prompts
"Getting to know you" questions are very popular among teachers on the first day of class, for very good reason. They are simple for students to fill out and they really do allow us to get to know each other.Here are some prompts you can ask of your students on the first day. It is fun to compare the answers from the first of the year, to answers at the end of the year.
Finally, here are some ideas for writing about the 2012 Olympics in London. You could also modify some of these for other years, or other sporting events.
One more reminder about these prompts. Although they are listed as being for the first day of class, they are great prompts that you can use at anytime during the year. You may wish to stretch them out for the first week, or just use them as general prompts at any time. For more prompts, see the main journal prompts page.comments powered by Disqus