First Day of School - History Style

Our first day of school is rapidly approaching.  Super that there are so many interesting lessons shared in our Community including 1st Day activities!

In high school first days are often filled with syllabuses, seating charts, grading and late work policy (including cell phone rules and now even AI use), I’m wondering what types of activities your students engage in on the first day that builds class spirt as you start out this year.  

I’ve been thinking about some quick starts for high school history classes that tie into content and social emotional connections.  For example learners might:

  • Create a quick group podcast on how “history” found its way into their summer (a visit to a historic site, a movie they saw, a family visit). 
  • “Show what they know” about local history via Pages using a writing prompt that focuses on the history of their community.
  • Participate in a quick Keynote photo selfie activity sharing one thing about themselves and their family history.
  • Create a meme, rap or Magic Movie about one of the curricular standards they’ll be asked to achieve during the year.
  • Use Maps to look for local history sites they might visit during the school year.
  • Create a whole class visual timeline In Freeform of their summer, focusing on historical events or milestones they experienced.
  • Create a personal historical facts Keynote trivia quiz. Each student contributes a question to be used in a Keynote trivia activity.
  • Start a year long, time travelers journal in Pages.  First day, students design the cover page. Over the school year they include reflections about classroom history learning. 
  • Brainstorm, using Freeform, “Big Ideas” centered on history to produce a Challenge Based Learning activity during the school year.
  • Use Safari to select and add to Notes, a compelling primary source image from the Library of Congress or museum site. Each student explains why this source is compelling to them and ads it to a class Keynote.

By incorporating students' summer experiences and weaving them into hands-on activities, might create a dynamic and inclusive learning environment that connects their personal histories with broader historical narratives.

For teacher professional learning:

Check out the Everyone Can Create Teacher Guide. Look under Integration Ideas - History and Social Science following each section (Drawing, Photo, Video, Music) for some starter (or even longer) creative projects for the start of your class.

Screen shot of Everyone Can Create Teachers Guide in the Apple Store

With history professional leaning I often use primary sources to punctuate a point.  A few years back, to kick off a professional learning discussion at the beginning of the school year, I created a Keynote to iMovie video. What additional questions should teachers ask about their classrooms and learning spaces as we start the school year in 2023? 


All Replies

Posted on August 13, 2023

Love this - especially the time travelers journal! That would be so fun!

Maximum file size: 400MB

Insert a video

Insert an image

Insert an image

125: 125
220: 220

This action can’t be undone.

Error Message

Are you sure you want to continue? Your changes will not be saved.

This post contains content from YouTube.

If you choose to view this content, YouTube may collect and process certain personal data. You can view YouTube’s <a href="" target="_blank">privacy policy here<span class="a11y">(opens in new window)</span>.</a>

This post contains content from YouTube.

You’ve rejected content from YouTube. Tap the button below to change your consent.