Slice of Life: Bringing a Classroom to Life

Before the school year begins, all is anticipatory. The scenarios swim in my head. Whole entire lessons and imagined student conversations wake me up in the middle of the night and rattle around until I fall asleep or daylight comes.

The first days of school are a week away, and while I’m still sorting through the nuts and bolts of content and teaching points, I’m also thinking about listening to and learning from my new students.  I am aching to know them.

What do you wonder?
What makes you smile?
What makes you want to turn the page?
What makes you open your notebook and write another page?
Where do you do your best work?
How do you see yourself in this classroom? In the world?

Big questions for brand new fourth graders with a brand new teacher.

So I’m working on some topics they can talk to a partner about. Maybe write about.
Favorite food and why.
Favorite thing in your room and why.
Favorite game and why.
Favorite book and why.
Favorite place to read and why.
Name one thing you miss about kindergarten and why.
Name one thing you are an expert in and one thing that you need help doing.
Name one thing you want to get good at this year.
Name one thing you are worried about and why.
Tell about a time you did something that scared you.
Tell of a time you helped someone.
Tell of a time someone helped you.

I’d love any thoughts you might have to stimulate their 9-year-old hearts and minds. So they bring their lives into the classroom. And bring the classroom to life.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.



9 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Bringing a Classroom to Life

  1. What a lucky group of fourth graders you’ll meet next week! I love that you “are aching to know them.” I’m looking forward to following your learning journey this year, Julieanne!

  2. One week ahead of you here and I have started to get to know my third graders:) I love your ideas for more talking and thinking! I always forget how long it takes to get everything done in those first days.

  3. I don’t start school until after Labor Day but already I’m getting excited! And your list of questions is a great way for them to safely write/share. Maybe add a question about family and favorite vacation place and favorite hobby/sport. I also am thinking about ways to meet all my 6th graders and wrote about my life in stats, inspired by Michelle Hasletine today! Since I will be “stealing” your list, feel free to take a look at our stats, another way to see our life!! Have the BEST first week and BEST school year. Those 4th graders are so lucky!

  4. Your questions are so wise – they get to the heart of who we are and what we wish to be, this school year and every school year. You always make my teaching heart sing, Julieanne.

  5. Your questions will touch them because they’ll know you want to know! Asking about the “personal” is the nicest thing, Julieanne. Best wishes for a grand start!

  6. All of your questions will let them know that you value who they are as individuals. The anticipation is palpable in your post. Are you sleeping?

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