General Links:

First Day of School Activities

Everybody Needs A Rock:

Everybody Needs a Rock

submitted by Jan Tappan

Grade Levels: K - 4


Day One:
On the first day of school, read Everybody Needs a Rock to the class.
Homework: Find a special rock to bring to class the next day for the Rock Ceremony.

Day Two:
On the second day of school, pair students randomly and ask them to show their rocks to each other, and to tell each other why they chose the rocks. Also have each student his/her partner something that is very special about themselves, something positive that they would like to share with the class. Allow about 10 minutes for discussion. Students also mark their rock for future identification.

Rock Ceremony:
Each student stands and introduces themselves to the class. They tell the class something special about themselves and the place their rock into the basket, saying, "My name is , and with this rock I join the class." The basket is placed high at the back of the room where it symbolizes a group of individuals coming together for a common purpose, to learn and grow together.

Throughout the year: If a student leaves, everyone writes three positive memories they have of that student. Teacher chooses a few to share with the class, then gives all the memories and the child's rock to the child on their last day.
New students coming to the class also introduce themselves to the class in a rock ceremony on their second day in class as their rock is added to the class basket.

The last week of school:
Each child writes their own name on 3 small slips of paper and folds the paper. The papers are placed in a bowl or other container, and students each remove three slips, making sure that they do not get their own name, and that all three names drawn are different. Students then write memories of their classmates whose names they drew. They should write at least one memory, though most write more. Memories must be positive, and not something that would embarrass the child they are writing about. Students place their memory notes in the bowl. The teacher later sorts and checks the memories for appropriateness (not hurtful or embarrassing), then types the memories without attribution to the author, adds a memory of his/her own, and prints a certificate for each student. Students usually want to write about their friends as well as their assigned classmates, which is fine, but try to be sure each student has roughly the same number of positive memories.

Sample certificate:
[Student name],
As we leave this third grade classroom,
take a moment to remember the year and the good things that happened.
You began fresh from second grade and grew in your knowledge and experience.
As you go on to fourth grade, you will begin to be in charge of your own learning.
Always remember that what you learn now will help you during your whole life.

Some memories:
* [Student], you are nice, and very, very good at drawing.
You are also smart and a good friend.
*You are funny and artistic.
* You are nice, you are good at basketball,
and you are good at running.
[Student], I admire the way you work hard until you understand the problem or do a wonderful job on the assignment. Your dedication and talent will take you far in the world. You can do anything you decide to do - when you work for it!
Teacher Signature

Last Day of School (or when students leave, if they leave early):
Year end rock ceremony:
The rocks are taken down from their resting place and brought to the front of the class. Teacher or a student reads each certificate and gives the certificate and the rock to the student.

The rock ceremony establishes supportive feeling among the students. They share things that are important about themselves with the class, and learn immediately that the classroom is a safe place to be and to learn.

Return to First Day of School Activities

Other Links:

Best Educational Sites on the Internet

Top Teacher Sites

Primary Games

Top One Hundred Kids' Sites

copyright ©2003 by Mathew Needleman
all contributed resources maintain the copyrights of the original authors
all rights reserved

Open Court Resources, Open Court, SRA, literacy, first grade, games, chants, unit, open court, reading, decodable books, sight words Open Court Resources Open Court Resources