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The Day You Begin activities for character traits.
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The Day You Begin Activities for Character Analysis, Inference & More

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The Day You Begin Summary

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson explores the challenges of being new in school, the feeling of not fitting in, and the bravery it takes to share your unique story with others.

The story follows a student who feels self-conscious about staying on her block during the summer while her classmates tell amazing stories about their summer adventures. 

The book reminds us that we are all different, from our accents to the food we eat, and that these differences don’t have to be barriers to making connections with others.

Through Rafael López’s illustrations, we see rulers used as a metaphor for measuring ourselves against others, reminding us that we are all unique and special in our own way.

The Day You Begin Activities

The Day You Begin celebrates diversity and encourages us to share our stories, connect with others, and embrace our differences.

As a teacher, you can use The Day You Begin activities to teach about setting, inferences, theme, character development, and making connections.

This post will focus on The Day You Begin activities for character analysis, making connections, inference and sequencing.

The Day You Begin Reading Comprehension Questions

These The Day You Begin questions encourage your students to reflect on the story, interpret the characters’ motivations and feelings, analyse the author’s message, and apply their understanding to their own experiences.

I have over 90 questions to use before, during and after reading The Day You Begin in this activity pack. Here are some questions you can ask before reading the book.

  • Who are the main characters in the The Day You Begin book? Can you describe them using your own words?
  • What challenges does the main character face in the story? How does she deal with these challenges?
  • Why do you think the main character felt nervous on her first day at a new school? What clues in the text led you to this conclusion?
  • How do the main character’s feelings change throughout the story? Can you point out the events that led to these changes?
  • Make a connection between the characters’ experiences in the book and your own life. How do these connections help you understand the characters better?
  • What can you infer about the character’s feelings towards her classmates? Provide evidence from the text to support your inference.
  • How does the title “The Day You Begin” relate to the story? What do you think it signifies?
  • Why do you think Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López added rulers to the illustrations?
  • Have you ever been in a room of people who differed from you? How did it make you feel?
The Day You Begin Read-Aloud Questions
Questions for The Day You Begin as a list, on discussion card and to print out on sticky notes

The Day You Begin Character Analysis

The relatable characters come from diverse backgrounds, each with their own stories. Your students can explore each character’s motivations, feelings, personal growth and responses to various situations. Here are some ways you can use The Day You Begin book to teach character analysis in the classroom:

Character Identification: Have your students identify each character in the book, noting their unique traits and backgrounds. This helps students understand that characters in a story can come from various backgrounds and experiences.

Character Traits: Ask students to list character traits for each character, using the text and illustrations as evidence. This can include physical characteristics as well as personality traits. You can find more details about the characters’ traits in these The Day You Begin activities.

Character Emotions: Encourage students to discuss and write about the emotions each character experiences throughout The Day You Begin book. How do these emotions change? What causes these changes?

Character Challenges: Identify the challenges or problems each character faces. Discuss how these challenges are related to the character’s background or personal circumstances.

Character Growth: Analyse how each character grows or changes throughout the story and explore what events or experiences lead to this growth.

Comparing Characters: Have students compare and contrast the characters in the book. What do they have in common? How are they different?

Making Connections: Encourage students to make connections between the characters’ experiences and their own lives. How might they react in similar situations? This deepens their understanding of The Day You Begin characters and their emotions.

Visual Interpretation: Use The Day You Begin illustrations to add depth to the character analysis. What additional information can the students infer from the visuals about the characters?

You can download the two activities in this image for free by signing up below. 

The Day You Begin FREE Character Traits Activities
The Day You Begin FREE Character Traits Activities

The Day You Begin Sequencing Activities

The Day You Begin’s clear narrative structure, progressive themes, and vivid illustrations make it a great book for teaching sequencing.

Narrative Structure: The book has a clear beginning, middle, and end, which makes it easy for students to identify and sequence the events in the story.

Progressive Themes: The themes progress from feelings of isolation and fear to acceptance and courage. This progression can help your students understand the sequence of emotions the characters experience.

Character Development: The characters in the book change throughout the story. Students can track and sequence these changes, thus understanding the characters’ development over time.

The Day You Begin activities can enhance students’ understanding of sequencing, a vital skill for reading comprehension and storytelling. Here are some practical ways to use The Day You Begin book:

Story Retelling: Have your students retell the story in their own words, encouraging them to recall and sequence the events from the book.

Timeline Creation: Create a timeline of the main events using the illustrations and text to help determine the order of events.

Sequencing Cards: Retelling and sequencing cards with key events from the story. Have your students arrange sequencing cards in the order they happened. This visual activity helps reinforce understanding of sequencing.

Cause and Effect Discussion: Discuss cause and effect relationships in the story. For example, when a character decides (cause), what happens as a result (effect)? This helps students understand how events impact each other in a sequence.

You can find the activities in these images here.

The Day You Begin Sequencing Activities
The Day You Begin Sequencing Activities

The Day You Begin Inference Activities

Jacqueline Woodson doesn’t explicitly state all the feelings or thoughts of the characters. She leaves clues in the text and illustrations for readers to infer the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

Complex Characters: The characters in the book are multifaceted, offering opportunities for students to make inferences about their feelings, motivations, and actions based on the textual clues provided.

Illustrations: The beautiful illustrations provide visual cues for students to infer details about the characters and the story. For instance, facial expressions and body language can deduce characters’ feelings or reactions.

Open-Ended Situations: The book presents scenarios that aren’t explicitly resolved, encouraging students to make inferences based on the information given.

You can use The Day You Begin book to teach inference in the classroom.  

Guided Reading Sessions: During reading, pause at key moments in the story and ask students to infer the character’s feelings or thoughts based on the text and illustrations.

Inference Worksheets: Use these worksheets with specific scenarios from The Day You Begin book. Ask your students to write down what they infer, providing evidence from the book to support their conclusions.

Writing Prompts: Provide writing prompts that require students to make inferences. For instance, “Why do you think the character felt nervous on her first day at a new school?” or “What can you infer about the character’s feelings towards her classmates?”

Visual Storyboard: Have students create a visual storyboard of the book. They can draw scenes and include speech or thought bubbles to depict what they infer the characters are thinking or feeling.

You can find the activities in these images here

Activities for "The Day You Begin" reading comprehension worksheet.
The Day You Begin Inference Activities

The Day You Begin Video

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