Three Back to School ELA Lesson Ideas

Fun ELA ideas for the first days of school

Needing some fresh ideas for the first days back at school? Want to avoid the ubiquitous “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” drudgery? All three of the activities below are road-tested by yours truly and I think you’ll find them beneficial to not only kick off the year, but to get your students creating on day one.

1. “Getting to Know You” One-Pager

Adapt the one-pager idea into a getting-to-know-you activity. Have students reveal their favorite memories, likes/dislikes, hobbies and more by letting them color up their choice of one-pager templates from Betsy Potash’s Spark Creativity. One-pagers work best for me when I enlarge Potash’s templates to 145%. Read about that trick here.

2. The Sometimes Poem from Middle Grades Author Kate Messner

Get the most out of your students’ Sometimes Poems by submitting them to Creative Communication’s Poetry Contest for middle schoolers. I just received an email yesterday announcing an extension of the deadline to August 26. This is NOT a pay-to-get-published company! There is no cost to apply and all winners who give parental permission have their poetry published in a hard-cover book. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of this company. (I just wish they still hosted contests for high school!)

3. Book Cover Analysis

This is a good reading activity for students to do in the first few days of school when they’ve only just begun to get into a book. Get your students up talking about a book’s cover design, typography, and graphic design and how those elements predict the book’s contents.

There! That should get you started.

Marilyn Yung, Owner of ELA Brave and True

I hope your 2021-2022 school year gets off to a fabulous start, despite all the Covid-19 precautions and teaching adjustments we are scrambling to reacquaint ourselves with.

And if you’ve already started school, or are teaching internationally without a U.S.-style summer break, know that I’m thinking of you out there already doing what you do best!

Thanks again for reading this week!

Need a new poetry lesson?

Enter your email below and I’ll send you this PDF file that will teach your students to write Treasured Object Poems, one of my favorite poem activities. I know your students will enjoy it!

Image shows readers the paper I'll send for signing up for my email list. The handout gives instructions for a Treasured Object poem.
Treasured Object Poems

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Need something else?

“Gatsby? What Gatsby?”

I created a bunch of content this summer relating to the teaching of The Great Gatsby. Click on the post below to find all those resources.

ELA Brave and True | Love teaching. Make it memorable.

Published by Marilyn Yung

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

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