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Unique Perspective on Back to School: School's First Day of School Activities

The School’s First Day of School book, by Adam Rex, offers a fresh perspective on the familiar nerves and excitement that accompany the start of a new school year—not from the students or teachers but from the school building itself! These activities are designed to enrich students’ engagement through character analysis, making inferences, and understanding cause and effect. You can find some read-aloud questions to use with your students today.

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School's First Day of School Summary

The start of a new school year can be exciting and nerve-wracking. Frederick Douglass Elementary School is nervous about opening its doors for a new term but soon realizes it’s not alone in its worries about the first day of school. School’s First Day of School book is written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Christian Robinson.

School's First Day of School Activities

School’s First Day of School explores themes such as overcoming fears, embracing different viewpoints, preparing for back-to-school transitions, and the creative use of personification

This post provides School’s First Day of School activities focusing on character analysis, inference, and cause and effect to enrich students’ engagement with the book.

School's First Day of School Read-Aloud Questions

These questions are designed to deepen students’ understanding of the School’s First Day of School book by exploring its narrative from the school building’s perspective.

Questions cover the main character’s unique viewpoint, the reasons behind the school’s nervousness, the evolution of its feelings throughout the day, and how interactions with other characters—like the janitor—affect its experience of the first day.

  1. Who is the main character in this story, and why is it unusual?
  2. How does the school building feel about the first day of school? Find text that supports your answer.
  3. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from the school’s perspective?
  4. What events made the school building feel nervous?
  5. How did the school’s feelings change, and what caused these changes?
  6. Can you identify a cause-and-effect relationship in the story?
  7. What are some character traits of the school building?
  8. How does the janitor contribute to the story? How does his role affect the school building’s experience?
  9. How does the point of view affect your understanding of the story? Would the story be different if told from a student’s perspective?
  10. How do the illustrations contribute to your understanding of the school’s feelings?


I have over
80 School’s First Day of School questions to use in this activity pack before, during, and after reading the book.

School's First Day of School Cause and Effect Activities

Through these School’s First Day of School activities, students can explore how various events, such as the arrival of children or the ringing of the fire alarm, trigger reactions in the school building. 

The activities help students understand the concept of cause and effect by examining the school’s nervous anticipation of the first day and its reactions to the events.

The First Day Nervousness: The school building feels nervous about the first day of school. This cause (the first day) has an effect (nervousness). 
Activity: Ask your students to identify other instances in the book where a cause leads to an effect.

The Arrival of Students: The arrival of children at school causes various reactions from the school building. 
Activity: Have students write down the cause (children arriving) and its effects on the school, encouraging them to think about the relations between different events.

The Ringing of the Fire Alarm: The ringing of the school bell triggers specific actions, such as students leaving the school building.
Activity: Get your students to discuss or write down the cause (fire alarm) and its effects.

School's First Day of School Character Analysis Activities

School’s First Day of School book provides a unique opportunity for character analysis by personifying the school building.

The activities encourage students to explore the school’s personality, emotions, and the growth it experiences, from feeling apprehensive to welcoming the next school day with optimism. 

Students can discuss how these relationships influence the school’s feelings and reactions by analyzing interactions between the school and other characters.

Unusual Protagonist: As a character, the school building has a distinct personality and experiences a range of emotions. 
Activity: Ask students to create a character profile for the school, noting its traits, emotions, and motivations.

Character Development: The school building evolves from feeling nervous and uncertain to feeling happy and looking forward to the next school day. 
Activity: Have your students chart the school’s emotional journey throughout the book.

Character Interaction: The school building interacts with other characters (students and janitor) in the story, influencing its feelings and reactions.
Activity: Get students to discuss or write about how these interactions affect the school’s feelings and behaviour.

Character’s Perspective: The story is told from the school building’s perspective, adding depth to its character. 
Activity: Have students write a journal entry about the first day of school from the school’s point of view.

School's First Day of School Inference Activities

The School’s First Day of School book is great for inference activities, where students use textual clues, character actions, and dialogue to understand the school’s emotions and reactions.

Students can enhance their reading comprehension and analytical skills by identifying descriptive language and inferring the school’s feelings and motivations.

Context Clues: The author uses descriptive language and scenarios to hint at the school’s feelings without explicitly stating them. 
Activity: Have students identify sentences or phrases where they need to infer the school’s emotions.

Character Actions: The school’s reactions to various events allow students to infer why it behaves in certain ways. 
Activity: Ask students to write down an action the school takes and then infer why the school acted that way. 

Character Dialogue: The dialogue between the school and the janitor provides indirect information about the school’s thoughts and feelings. 
Activity: Get students to find a line of dialogue and infer what the school is feeling or thinking when it speaks.

Imagery: The author uses imagery to describe the school and its surroundings, which can be used to infer more about the school’s experiences. 
Activity: Have students choose a descriptive passage and infer what it tells us about the school’s experience.

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