Every year I have the students write to a prompt on the 1st day of school. This provides me with a chance to see where they are, plus the opportunity to label supplies. I have usually done one titled "My Favorite 1st Day," etc. However, that prompt showed up this past year in our new reading/writing series. Needless to say, my students were not thrilled when the writing teacher came in the classroom and informed them that they would still need to do it. Does anyone have any ideas of something that would be appropriate for 3rd graders.
How about writing you a letter to describe themselves? I like this one because you can do it at the end of the year and compare!
Otherwise, could they write about another "favorite" like their favorite meal or their favorite birthday memory? Describe their bedroom? I always try to steer clear of prompts that put some kids at a disadvantage like "Describe your favorite vacation." because not everyone has the opportunity to go on trips.
I love doing this with my 2nd graders. Not sure if it would work for your 3rd, but I will share. I read Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes on the 1st day of school at the end of the day. I then have students write about what they were worried about. I save it and include it in their end of the year memory book. Students always find it hilarious to see how they were writing at the beginning of the year vs. how they are doing now. I have to admit - I also love to see how they have grown. Some comments from this past year were: I didn't spell anything right! My paper is blank! (He turned it in that way. I can't read my handwriting! ( I've been saying that all year!) You get my point ~ it's fun. Hope this helps.
Last year I read "Thank you, Mr. Falker" to my class on the first day. We brainstormed what Trisha's educational journey was like. We talked about their own educational journeys, thus far. Then, I had the students write about what they expected the journey through sixth grade to be like. I was then able to use the same prompt at the end of the year, but from a reflective standpoint. It was exciting to see the growth, for myself and for the kids.
How about letting the children set three goals that pertain to the subject they have with you. Let them write about them on notebook paper and place the entire classes response inside a capsule of some kind that can be burried for the school year. Toward the end of the year dig it up and check to see how the goals turned out>
I love all the ideas on here. I am going into my third year of third. I always start off with Chrysanthemum. Lends itself to so many ideas such as graphing letters and names. I am going to use the write about yourself one this year. I also do "Me Bags" the first week. Use a brown paper lunch bag and they have to put three things in it from home to represent themselves and present to the class. I have a writing activity at school that goes with this our of Writing For Success called Mirror, Mirror. Scavenger hunts around the classroom are good.
I do the "All about Me" bags, too. I bring in a brown paper sack, that I've decorated with things about me (colored purple-fav. color, picture of my kids, etc). Then I have 3-5 objects in the bag that represent something about me---a pencil, b/c I love to write; an apple--b/c I'm a teacher; a Texas flag--I grew up in Tx (live in TN now); a ceramic angel---I collect angel figurines. I give my kids a brown paper bag, with the directions stapled to the outside (must bring in 3-5 items, must fit in the bag, decorate the outside). I do this on the first day of school, and it's a great first day "homework".It lets the kids share something about themselves with the class in a fun way....even the shy kids are able to do this one. I also tell my kids, in the interest of time, that they have a 4 minute time limit, so they need to "practice" sharing their bag with their family. The st. then do a journal entry, writing down what they learned about at least three of their new classmates.
Another writing activity: I purchase some stationary from the Dollar Store. I have the kids write a letter to themselves about what they want to accomplish in fourth grade, what some of their fears/hopes/dreams are, etc. They then seal this in an envelope (I don't even look at them), and place them in their writing portfolio (a file folder they decorate and I have laminated). They add pieces to this portfolio throughout the year. When I give them their portfolio at the end of the year, they read the letter that they wrote to themselves,and look at all the writing pieces that they've added. They love it, and it really shows them how much they've grown as a writer!
but thanks for all these fantastic ideas. I've just started reading this board. The first day of school is always the most difficult, but these ideas have me ready to go back now (well, not quite). Thanks again!
As a 3rd grade teacher, I always have them write about what they did over the summer. I know it sounds "typical", but everyone did SOMETHING (I stress it does NOT have to be a vacation...for example I did not go on vacation and I tell them that, but tell them a few quick things I did do that didn't take any money), and I use this piece of writing as their "baseline" writing assessment. I then have a "What I did over the summer..." writing piece on an overhead that I wrote (and did) that I share with them (once they are done). I share this with them as a visual of the 6 trait writing that they've probably all forgotten over the summer, but that we WILL be doing since our writing assessment is in November...we'll be "hitting it hard" and it models for them what I expect (ex...paragraphs, indenting, adjectives, a simile or two, good verbs, show don't tell, etc.).
They enjoy seeing these first pieces of writing at the end of year, and it helps me show how far they've come in case I'm questioned by administration if they don't pass the November writing assessment!
I teach 3rd grade. I always have the students describe a good teacher on the first day in their journals. On the second day I have them describe a good student. It is always very intersting what they write.