Chances are, you have some go-to first day of school books to read aloud to your class at back to school time. If one of your goals for the first day is to start building positive relationships with your students, then A Letter From Your Teacher: On the First Day of School is a new one to add to your collection.
“The first day of school” is a loaded phrase. It’s more than just a blank slate and fresh start for a brand new year ahead. For students, there might be feelings of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement. For teachers, there might be those very same feelings, with some overwhelm thrown in.
Whether you’re a new or veteran teacher, there is just SO MUCH to consider for that very first day. There’s the set up, the planning, and then the actual day itself. You’re wanting to establish routines and procedures, and lay the groundwork for class community. The first day is also all about forming personal connections with students as you begin to get to know them as individuals.
And not only are you getting to know the kids, but they are also getting to know you. What you choose to do, say, and share with your students on the first day really matters! You are the one who gets to set the tone for the class.
Kicking the School Year Off on the Right Foot
When I think of “setting the tone” for the year, here are just a few personal goals that have come to mind over the years:
- Make students feel welcome
- Ensure that students understand and follow behavior expectations, routines, and procedures
- Let the kids know that their teacher cares about them and is interested in getting to know them
- Help each child learn and grow, academically and socially/emotionally
- Encourage a “growth mindset” culture, where students will work hard and try their best (especially when something is a challenge)
- Create a safe, loving, and FUN learning environment
Whew! And this list could keep going and going, right? There is a ton of information to convey when kids first step foot in your classroom. And it can feel like a tall order to get all of those messages across!
First Day of School Books
Whenever you want to share important messages, I believe that a read aloud is a good place to start. If you’re familiar with my first book, Our Class is a Family, you probably aren’t surprised to hear me say that. The book’s intent is to help kids see that they have a special group of people who care about them. Their class is a place where they belong.
My newest book, A Letter From Your Teacher, aims to send an important message to kids as well. It’s actually inspired by one of the lines in Our Class is a Family: “Your teacher is here for you.” I thought it was worth diving into that statement a little deeper. This book further communicates to kids what that really means.
The book touches upon all of the points I mentioned earlier in my list about “setting the tone.” These messages are conveyed to students in the form of a letter, written from the teacher’s point of view. The illustrations are once again from the talented Sandie Sonke. Here’s a little preview!
As you can see, there is a blank space on the last page for you to sign your own name. This way, your students know that the message of the “letter” is coming straight from you.
My hope is that you can read this book to your kids as a special way of welcoming them to your class. It will let them know that the first day of school is the start of a special teacher/student relationship. It can also be used as a jumping off point for get-to-know-you activities during back to school time.
First Day of School Book Companion
Speaking of get-to-know-you activities, I’ve created a book companion for A Letter From Your Teacher that can be used on the first day of school. Right after you’ve read the book aloud, your students may be inspired to start sharing things about themselves with you. It’s the perfect time to have them respond with their own special letter (also in the form of a book) TO their teacher!
There is an adapted version too with sentence frames and simplified writing prompts, which may be more well suited for beginning writers.
After reading aloud both of my first day of school books, here is a special way to extend student learning even further. I will be offering virtual author visits for the 2021-2022 school year! I would love to meet personally with your class, and talk all about the writing process and class community. Dates will be opening up soon! You can find out more details about author visits by clicking here.
Where can I get the book?
If you would like to add A Letter From Your Teacher to your collection of first day of school books, the paperback and eBook are both now available on Amazon! Hardcovers will also be coming later this summer. You’ll be able to get the hardcovers on Amazon or at a discounted rate directly through my website. If you are wanting to order direct, you are welcome to pre-order your hardcover copy.
Sharing is Caring
After you’ve read the book, I’d be so appreciative if you could take a quick moment to leave a review on Amazon! I know other teachers will value what you have to say, and so I thank you in advance for taking the time.
Also, seeing your photos of my books and how you’re using them in your classroom truly makes my day…seriously, I get the goofiest smile on my face. If you share any photos on social media, please tag me @lifebetweensummers on Instagram and Life Between Summers on Facebook. I’d love to see your posts!
Best wishes for a great new school year!
For any teacher who has ever felt nervous or overwhelmed leading up to back to school time (or who has ever had a crazy “the night before the first day of school” dream), I hope that this new book might help your first day go even better than expected. Just the fact that you’re here, looking for new teaching ideas, shows what a caring teacher you are. Your future students are lucky to have you!