Recently, I read a lovely picture book – The Way to Start a Day, by Byrd Baylor, and I thought it would be a great one to use at the beginning of the school year. The Way to Start a Day begins with the narrator talking about greeting the morning with songs that she creates on the spot. The book goes on to discuss ancient cultures from various parts of the world that also used celebrations to honor the beginning of each new day. Dawn chants in the sun temples of Peru and sunrise drum songs in the Congo are two of the examples given. Other examples included flute music, bells ringing, and gifts of flowers and feathers.
The story wouldn’t take long to read, and the content and illustrations should appeal to students at a variety of grade levels.
After listening to the story, students could discuss how they begin each day – saying the Pledge of Allegiance, other morning rituals – and how these rituals can help to get the day off to a good start. As a follow-up activity, students might work together in groups to come up with something special to start their day in your class each morning. Or maybe something special to start the new year or a new semester. Groups could present their ideas with a poster in sunrise colors like the illustrations in the book.
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