A first week activity inspired by a novel

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September is here and another school year is on its way. I’m just enjoying the last few lazy days reading and planning ahead. I’m reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George at the moment. I loved the book. Not only for the plot, not only it is set in Paris along the River Seine but also the richness of the creative writing ideas that pop up in front of my eyes while reading it.

The book takes place in Paris and tells the story of a bookshop owner Jean Perdu who calls his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, because he doesn’t just sell books to his customers, he also prescribes them to suit their minor ailments he diagnoses in them.

I just don’t want to forget those brilliant ideas Mr Perdu brought into my mind so I decided to write them.

Here is one as a first week activity. Mr Perdu says “books are like people, and people are like books.” And continues “ I ask myself is he or she the main character in his or her life?” (pg 28) well, I’m not going to reveal more but I’m planning my first day activity as follows.

The activity will be suitable for any level if you plan it that way but I’ll do it with my year 12 students.

Tell students they are a character in a novel.

Tell them to describe themselves, their motives, ambitions, weak points, strengths.

Who else are in their story? What kind of characters are they? A short description for them as the characters of the story…

The blurb of their story, their problem and how they expect the story will end.

I’ll tell them to create a book cover and a few pages of their books to display on classroom walls.

I think this will be a good beginning for a class who will be studying hard for their university exam. This year their main concern is the exam and how they will shape their future so I guess starting the year with these book covers will be fun.


Guessing Game Guest Post by Arzu Baloglu

I work at a high school and I mainly teach 9th and 10th grades.I learned this activity at a workshop I attended a few months ago.

The idea is to give students  some clue words and numbers  which are important to you  and make them guess what they  are about.So ss are getting to know you by suggesting ideas .In the end you give the correct answers.I’ve prepared this activity as a ppt presentation by adding photos. I think  some slides with photos on the first day of school could be more interesting and fun  instead of just introducing yourself to the class.Because students can be curious about their new teacher and want to learn more about her/him.

The aim is not only make ss find the correct answers but also make them speak as much as possible.

I put photos, many of which I took for this activity , and numbers on the slides. I tell the ss all the slides are related to me and then let them make guesses .After they finish guessing about me and tell me all their ideas,I show them the correct answers .Some of them are too easy to guess  J.Later they can tell a word or a number about themselves and the class try to figure them out.

This kind of activity later could be used while teaching  likes &dislikes. SS can prepare some slideshows to talk about their likes&dislikes.Their  favourite writer,film ,singer,food ,city,etc. can be put on the slides as well.

I’ve prepared a ppt presentation  in case there may not be wifi on the first day of school,but other presentation tools like Prezi or Animoto can be used,too.If you don’t want to use photos,you can use word clouds by writing all the key words and numbers in it.I think the more interesting the photos or words ,the more fun the students will have.