Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.
First Day Jitters
First Day Jitters is a great book that lends itself to several interesting and important lessons for students. The activities below have been developed for use with beginning to middle elementary students and can be used to extend learning after reading this cleverly written story.
Chart of Feelings
Use this activity to create a chart displaying the feelings students each student felt on the first day of school.
Materials: drawing paper cut into 4ths, crayons, tape
- Begin with a discussion about how people feel on the first day of school.
- Talk about the following emotions as they apply to the first day of school:
- Write the four emotions on the board along with another that says ''all of them.''
- Allow students to raise their hands and tell how they felt on the first day.
- Next, give each student one of the smaller pieces of drawing paper and some crayons.
- Instruct students to choose one of the emotions (or all of them) that best fit how they felt on the first day of school.
- Have students draw a face on their paper that reflects the student feeling that emotion.
- Also, have students write their names on the backs of their papers.
- Now have each student come up and tape their drawing next to the corresponding word on the board.
- When all students are done, count to see how many students experienced each emotion on the first day of school.
Tips to the New Teacher
At the end of the book, we find out that it is the new teacher who is feeling nervous about the first day of school. Use this activity to help students think about what advice they might give to a new teacher.
Materials: writing paper, pencils
- Put students into groups of 3-4.
- Instruct each group to discuss what advice they might give to a new teacher. Make a couple of suggestions to help them get started.
- What time does school start and end?
- What are the hallway or playground rules at the school?
- What are some things the teacher might want to know about the students?
- Where is the lunchroom?
- How can the new teacher stop feeling nervous?
- Have each group create of list of ideas.
- Once completed, let each group read their advice list to the class.
''Our First Day'' Class Book
Create a class book about first day feelings.
Materials: drawing paper, crayons, pencils
- Begin by asking students to share the feelings they experienced on the first day of school.
- Next, give each student a piece of drawing paper, crayons, and a pencil.
- Explain that you will be creating a class book about the students' feelings on the first day.
- Instruct students to write this sentence toward the top of their paper and fill in the blank (put the sentence on the board so they can copy it): ''On the first day of school, I felt _ _ _''
- After they've all written their sentence, allow time for students to create a picture to go with it.
- Have students share their work with the class.
- Then collect all of the papers and bind them with a teacher created cover to create a class book.
This book lends itself to a great discussion about feelings and emotions. Use this activity to help students develop their understanding of different emotions.
Materials: drawing paper, crayons
- As a class, talk about various emotions: happy, sad, mad, scared, nervous, shy, excited, curious (plus any others you feel are relevant so that you have a total of 8).
- Write the names of the emotions on the board so that students can see them.
- Next, give each student a piece of drawing paper.
- Demonstrate for students how to fold the paper into fourths.
- Show students how to unfold their papers and use a crayon to draw in lines that will separate their papers into fourths on both sides (for a total of 8).
- Instruct students to write one emotion word at the bottom of each of the sections on their papers.
- Now have students draw a face in each section that shows what each emotion might look like.
- Display student work in the classroom.
Write Your Teacher a Letter
Use this activity to help students explain their feelings and emotions to their teacher.
Materials: writing paper, pencils
- Give each student a piece of writing paper and a pencil.
- Demonstrate for students how to begin a friendly letter with ''Dear _ _ _,''.
- Next, give students time to write you a letter. Encourage them to:
- Explain how they felt on the first day.
- Tell you about their day.
- Make suggestions about what might have made the day better.
- Anything else they want you to know about their first day.
- Collect the letters.
- When time allows, read each letter and write a response to each student.
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