The Worst Day of My Life Ever by Julia Cook Activities

Instructor: Kristen Goode

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.

'The Worst Day of My Life Ever' is a children's book written by Julia Cook with a great message about listening and following directions. Use the activities below to help students identify the importance of both of these skills.

The Worst Day of My Life Ever

The Worst Day of My Life Ever follows a day in the life of RJ who has a hard time listening and following directions both at home and at school. His worst day ever becomes the consequence of his failures to listen and obey. To use this book as a means of teaching children the importance of listening and following directions, it is helpful to involve them in a variety of story related activities. The activities below have been developed for the purpose of helping elementary students connect with and pull meaning from this clever story.


Materials: poster board, markers

  • Begin with a discussion about the two main skills highlighted in the book (listening and following directions).
    • Talk about why these skills are so important.
    • Discuss how these skills helped the boy in the story go from his worst day ever to his best day ever.
    • Revisit the information given about how to practice both skills.
  • Put students into groups of 2-3. Try to have an even number of groups.
  • Assign half of the groups the topic of 'Listening' and the other half the topic of 'Following Directions.'
  • Instruct each group to develop a poster describing their topic and explaining how it is done.
    • Encourage students to refer to the book and use the information given for each topic on pages 15 and 17.
    • Encourage the addition of pictures or diagrams to illustrate the information on each poster.
  • Allow time for each of the groups to share their posters with the class. Allow for class discussion as they share.
  • Post the posters around the room (or even around the school if permitted to do so).

Write About Your Worst Day

Materials: writing paper and pencils or access to a computer for writing, drawing paper and colored pencils or markers

  • Begin with class discussion about the different things that went wrong for the boy in the story.
  • Invite students to share about their worst days.
  • Next, give each student writing paper or access to a computer for writing.
  • Instruct students to write a short story about their worst day ever.
    • Ask them to describe the events that made it the worst day.
    • Ask them to talk about how it made them feel.
    • Ask them to explain what they did to overcome their worst day.
  • After their writing is complete, give students drawing paper and invite them to illustrate their stories with one or more pictures.
  • Finally, have each student read their work to the class.

From Worst to Best (Acrostic)

Materials: large pieces of construction paper (light colors are recommended), markers or colored pencils

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