First Days of School

The start of school is quickly coming up. I love the first day of school. When I was a student I was excited to see my friends, meet my new teachers, and show off my new clothes. As a teacher, that hasn’t changed. Well, I don’t always have new clothes. They have a lifetime contract and a “no-trade” clause. 🤣

No matter what, the first day is full of promise and excitement. There are discussions on class rules, the syllabus, and where students must put your phone when coming into class. It might be that way in other classes, but not mine. For me, it is a time to get to know my learners, play, and build on the excitement. This past week at institute, I had several requests for my first 3 days of school plan. I figured that others might want to see it as well. Here it is.

I love using the Everyone Can Create books in the first thee days. It is a chance for the learners to play while letting me know more about them. Along the way, they get introduced to the iPad, several tools, and our class procedures. Yes, I have specific procedures to follow along with consequences. I just prefer to teach them as we go along in a fun manner that makes it a part of the culture and environment.

Day 1:

I start with the “All About Me” project found in the Education Community Learning Center. This is a great starter project that can be extended for learners who have experience with the iPad and Keynote. More advanced students can create their own silhouette instead of using the templates. We use this activity to create the initial image on their “About Me” page of their school portfolio.

The second project is to create a Twitter or Social Media card. The idea is for students to work with images and create their own quote related to the school or class. These cards make great images to use along with student work. Note: Before using on social media, make sure to follow the regulations for your school/district and ensure you have parent/guardian approval. The All About Me and Twitter Card projects can be completed in a class period. They both use Keynote to help get students acquainted with creative uses for the app.

Day 2:

The next day, I have students create an “About Me” video using the “Your First Movie” project found in the Everyone Can Create Video book. These videos get students in front and behind the camera. They get to be creative and talk about who they are. We use video all year long. This project helps them to get comfortable while improving their video creation and storytelling skills.


Screenshot of the first page of the Your First Movie unit from the Everyone Can Create Video Book
Screenshot of the first page of the Your First Movie unit from the Everyone Can Create Video Book

Day 3:

On the third day, we move to the Everyone Can Create Photo book. On this day, we go through the first unit, Everyday Objects. Learners get the chance to improve their photography and editing skills along with the ability to look at objects in a new way. At the end of the unit, we complete the “Create a Personified Picture” project. The creativity and interests of the students come out. 

A screenshot of the first page of the Everyday Objects unit from the Everyone Can Create Photo book.
Screenshot of the first page of the Everyday Objects unit from Everyone Can Create Photo book.

With these project, I am able to learn so much about my students while they learn about their iPad, me, and our classroom community. As a wrap up, I take the images they have created over the last few days and make a video of them. This becomes a great way to show the parents some of the expectations I have regarding creativity. My first email home is not about rules or expectations. My email is welcoming and showing that creativity is something we will be doing all year.

I created a Numbers document that outlines the projects for the first three days. I am sharing it here for you to use if you like. It also has a sample of the year planning we do for our program. I like to see how the projects fit within the calendar and the other courses. Like all plans, it gets changed all the time. Each of the project tabs have the instructions I put in Schoology, our learning management system. I’ve also included the rubrics I use in class. My rubrics are not a list of checkmarks. We start simple with completion and move from there. I discuss my thoughts on rubrics in other posts. (Part 1, part 2, part 3).


Image of the All About Me lesson guide. The title is at the top. The image includes Goals, project information, and links.
Screenshot of a page of the teacher guide

I believe that the first days of school should be full of enjoyment, wonder, and play. I still set high expectations on these days along with a mutual understanding of how to treat each other and the lab. The relationships we start to build here make the rest of the year so much more productive and engaging. Have fun with the new school year.

Video overview I give the students in case they miss class:


All Comments

Posted on July 16, 2023

Wow! Outstanding Mike! I love that they are making their first video on the second day of school and Keynote on the first! Such a refreshing approach. This quote of yours stood out for me:

“I believe that the first days of school should be full of enjoyment, wonder, and play”

Thanks for the inspiration on the first 3 days!

Posted on July 16, 2023

Love that you begin the new school year with a focus on identity, creativity, and community, Mike. This sets such a great tone for the rest of the school year. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on July 19, 2023

Mike! This is sooo creative and fun! So much better than normal 1st day of school things. Thank you for sharing!

Posted on July 20, 2023

This is great! Thank you so much for sharing!

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