First Day Of School Writing Prompts

First Day Of Class Writing Prompts

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!



Prompts For The First Day Of School

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.

  • What three things did you do this summer that you have never done before? This can be something big or small, from trying a new sport to trying out a new food.
  • If you had been forced to spend your summer vacation with any two people in the world, besides your Mom and Dad, who would you choose and why?
  • What was the most important thing that you learned this summer? Describe what happened to make you learn this lesson.

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.

  • What do you consider your greatest strength as a student?
  • What one thing would you like to improve about yourself as a student?
  • What would you like to learn this year, in this class?
  • Besides that it is required (if it is), why are you taking this class?
  • What mark would you like to achieve this year, in this class?
  • What three things are you going to do, to achieve this goal?

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.

  • What is your favourite subject? Why?
  • What is your least favourite subject? Why?
  • What are three hobbies that you have?
  • Who is your favourite person in the world? Why?
  • Have you always lived in this town/city/area? If not, where else have you lived?
  • What is the thing you are best at?
  • What kind of music do you like to listen to?
  • What television show do you never miss?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?

Olympics Prompts

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.

  • How many hours did you spend watching the Olympics this year? What were your two favourite sports and why?
  • Did you watch any of Michael Phelps' races? Why do you think he decided to race one last time? Would you have chosen to race after already winning so many medals?
  • If you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you choose and why?
  • What sport do you think should have been at the Olympics that wasn't there?
  • Give three reasons you think the Olympics are either important or not important. Defend your position.

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.

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