[Lesson Plan] First Day of School Feelings Blog Feature
Carman Le

By: Carman Le on August 29th, 2019

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[Lesson Plan] First Day of School Feelings

Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: English Language Arts | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | Academic Subject: Reading | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 3600STP | social-emotional learning

new school year bulletin board variquest cutout makerIt's back-to-school time again?! Already!? YAY!!! I understand how busy and crazy the first few days of school can be, so I’ve put together some materials for you to use on the first few days of school. These activities easily align to your reading, math, writing, and social-emotional learning objectives with very minimal modifications needed. They are simple, engaging, and more importantly you can use your students’ creations as a nice hallway display. Go ahead and check that box and download the activities now for free!

Download All "First Day Feelings" Poster Printables

Download these anchor charts to see how your students are feeling on their first day back. Are they Nervous? Shy? Excited? Worried? Happy?

I created a second version of this anchor chart for teachers who might not be able to use it on the first day back. In addition, I decided to leave the labels off the emojis off to increase flexibility. Pick and choose which anchor chart best fits your needs.

the first day of school I felt poster template   the start of a new school year makes me feel poster template

I love using this anchor chart after reading aloud First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and/or You’re Finally Here! by Melanie Watt to the class on the first day of school. This anchor chart, and the suggested activities below, go along with the read-aloud. They help students identify how they might be feeling on the first day of school. It is also a fantastic way to help your students open up about themselves and discuss their feelings. Make sure you let your students know that it is normal, and okay, to feel how they are feeling.

the first day of school I felt poster filled out2Activity #1: Read Aloud and Poll the Class

  • Give each student an emoji cutout shape (EMJ002- EMJ027) created by the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800 or a sticky note to place above the emoji that shares their feelings. You can have students write their names on the sticky side of the sticky note or the back of the emoji cut shape to keep this activity anonymous.
  • You can also cut out blank circles (EMJ019) and have students draw a self-portrait that shows the strongest emotion they felt on the first day back and have them attach that on the anchor chart.


first day of school tally chart template thumbActivity #2: Graphing Activities

  • Use the data from activity #1 to create a tally chart with the class. Students will use the data from the tally chart to create a variety of graphs such as bar graphs, picture graphs, line graphs, and pie/circle graphs. Students will then analyze the data and share their findings with the class.
  • You can have students create the graphs individually, as a reinforcement, or in small groups to enhance classroom collaboration that encourages academic conversation and cooperation among students.
first day of school bar graph template thumb first day of school line graph template thumb
first day of school picture graph template thumb first day of school circle graph template thumb

Activity #3: Writing Activities

You can use one of the writing prompts below and guide students to create their own personalized Emoji Cutout Books. For this activity, you will need to prepare emoji cutout shapes (EMJ002- EMJ027) created by the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800 or cut circles from construction paper for the book cover and circles from notebook paper, for each of your students.

Writing prompts:

  • On the first day of school, I felt _________ because___________.
  • On the first day of _____ grade, I felt ________ because _____________.
  • What does you perfect first day of school look like?
  • What is your goal for this new school year?
  • Why do you think school is important?

Step 1: Have students create a book cover for their emoji cutout books

  • Students can use emoji cutout shapes or a blank circle cutout to draw a self-portrait as the book cover. I cut them out in 6” diameter, which I think it is a good size for students in grades 2 and up. If you have students in lower grades, I recommend you adjust the size as needed.

cutout maker emojis

Step 2: Decorate their book cover

  • Provide students with blank cutout circles as a background for their emojis, then have students add colors to their emoji faces and personalize them. I used white construction paper as the background page, which makes it easier for students to personalize their book covers using markers, crayons, or colored pencils.

cutout maker emoji created cutout maker emoji examples

Step 3: Begin their writing response

  • Provide students with cutout circles from notebook paper, where they can write their responses. You can decide what type of lined paper best fits your students’ needs.

Step 4: Glue your emoji cutout books together. I used clear glue to combine my cover page, notebook paper page, and bottom page together.cutout maker emoji activity

We hope you enjoy these activities and wish you all the best in your first days of school! 

Want to learn more about the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800 or Perfecta Poster Design System, used to create these projects? Request a demo to see live how our tools could be a great fit in your school!


IMG_0037.jpg Carman Le, Education Development Specialist for VariQuest, is an elementary school educator with experience teaching in multiple school settings, ranging from Title I to STEM magnet to National Blue Ribbon schools. Carman has a master’s degree in teaching (MAT) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She was recognized as a MeckEd Teacher of Excellence in 2015. Carman is passionate about collaborating with teachers and engaging students through hands-on learning and the integration of technology.