The first few minutes of class are vital. They set the tone for the rest of class, and truly, the environment and atmosphere of your classroom. I really like to use the beginning of class intentionally. On Mondays, I have students create mini-gratitude lists and we do a mindfulness video from the Calm App (free for teachers). Tuesday through Thursday, I write out intentional questions related to reading. A lot of time these questions ask students to apply higher order thinking questions or make text-to-self connections. Fridays, however, are my favorite.
I’d seen other teachers discuss the idea of using First Chapter Friday in their classrooms. It seemed like a perfect way to share some of my independent reads with the classes and help them realize that there are so many more books out there that they could enjoy than they imagined. It’s such an easy way to encourage independent reading, especially if you feel like you are struggling to find time to integrate it in class.
I have a weekly warm up sheet that I use in my classroom and it’s set up for each day of warm ups: Meditation Monday, three days of HOTQs, and First Chapter Friday. You can find it on my TPT (as a freebie). This gives students a place to write about their FCF thoughts, so that it’s not wasted time where they are dazed off or secretly on their phone. Here is my full how to for FCF:
I’ve found that First Chapter Friday is a great tool to help students find books they are excited about. I’ve had a lot of students tell they’ve picked up a book because I’ve used it as a FCF book. At the end of the semester, I had students take a survey on their favorite finds. Here were some stand out recommendations:
I try to rotate between male and female narrators (though it definitely skews a tad bit more female) and to include works by authors of color and authors from countries outside the US. I’m always looking for more ideas so let me know- what are your favorite First Chapter Friday reads?
I'm Megan and I teach high school ELA. I'm all about literature, creativity, and aesthetics!