Free Lesson plans for teachers, made by Karen Garner and based on poems in The New Generation.

New Start

Angela Topping

Teachers’ Notes

It’s school time again! You’re probably feeling a mixture of emotions from being excited to be seeing your friends again but also sad that the summer holidays are over. You might be scared because everything will be new again and you will miss the familiarity of your last classroom and teacher after all it had taken you ages to get used to your last teacher’s ways! But don’t worry you’ll soon settle in and these worries will disappear and reading New Start by Angela Topping reminds us that we don’t need to be scared of new starts.

First day back

everything is new.

Q: is everything new? What things are the same at school as they have always been?

Q: what new things are you looking forward to? Will this be the year you learn to swim or go on that residential? Will it be the year you learn about Egyptians or read that cool book about the teenage spy?

Activity One – Teacher in the Hot-seat

In New Start the child is worried about her new teacher (the one she found so scary last year) so what can you do to make sure your new class don’t think you are scary? Give the children time to write out questions that will tell them all they need to know. Give them some categories and examples of good questions to help them generate the questions. To make it fun, set a timer and see how many questions you can answer. Then in pairs the children can try and remember what they have found out about you.

Activity Two – Truth or Lie

I loved playing this one with my class when they were getting to know me. Have two or three facts on display and the children have to ask you questions about each one then vote on which is the truth and which is the lie. Using Ice-breakers with your new class can really help everyone get settled quickly.

…new classroom

(walls all blank waiting for

The new display),

Writing Opportunity:

Your classroom is a blank canvas and you want an exciting display that will stimulate and motivate the children in your class. For an exciting new start why not use another of Angela’s poems The Staff to inspire your class to create great poems about the teachers in your school. The background for the display would be large portraits of the staff in your school with poems in between them – can guests in your classroom match the poem to the portrait?

Miss Linnet is neat and very precise

She flutters her skirts around.

She sweeps along the corridors…

In stiletto heels, sharp as tacks.

Another great poem that could get children inspired and using their imaginations (remember that six week holiday and all that playing will mean your class won’t be used to doing much writing!) so start by using what they know well – traditional tales.

End Of Term Reports

Pinocchio’s been lying again.

He’s such a naughty boy.

He will not do his work

and seems determined to annoy.

Writing Opportunity:

  • use characters from traditional tales and create their end of term reports.
  • Hot seat characters and discusses how this year is a new beginning.
  • You could then write letters in role where the characters explain their previous actions and how they are going to change this year!
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