First Day of a New School Year

Subject: SEL (Social-Emotional Learning)

Lesson Length: 45 mins - 1 hour

Topic: Empathy, First Day of School

Grade Level: 3, 4, 5

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will think about how they and others are feeling about the return to school.

Know Before You Start: The comic prompts students to empathize with a number of feelings kids may have about returning to school, and consider how to be a good friend to their classmates.


  • Read and discuss the sample comic.

  • Have students discuss how they felt on the first day of school.

    • Were they nervous?

    • What kinds of things made them feel better?

    • How can we help others feel better on the first day?


  • Have students imagine that they have been placed in a group with two of the characters in the comic. 

    • How do they think the conversation might go?

    • What would each student need to hear in order to have a great day? 

  • Using the sample comic as a guide, have students make a comic that includes them and two friends talking  on the first day of school.

    • How do they think the conversation might go?


  • Remember to save some time for sharing and discussion. 

  • You may want to put the students in groups of four, just like the teacher in the comic, to share and discuss their comics before giving groups a chance to share with the class. 

  • Your discussion could lead to sharing how your students are feeling about being back in school and ways to support classmates, taking time to consider the many ways each person might feel.


  • Students can work independently, in groups, or with a partner.

  • Allow students to use speech-to-text feature as needed.

  • Provide printout of the sample comic for student reference.


  • Comic to print or display: Comic.

Suggested Content Packs: