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August 25, 2014 Never, Always: A Getting-to-Know You Writing Activity By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Getting to know your students allows for personal connection. At the beginning of the school year it can be difficult to get to every student in the classroom and find out everything you’d like to know. Here is a short and sweet writing lesson you can implement that gives your students the opportunity to share a little bit about themselves:

    Start with the book, Never Take a Shark to the Dentist.

    After reading the book, talk with your kids about different things that they would never want done to them or things that they would never do.

    The next step is to have your students partner up. You can achieve this however you'd like: alphabetically, by height, etc. Both students will have a turn to participate in the activity. Once students are partnered, assign an "A" person and a "B" person. 

    Share with students their roles in the activity: Person A will have an allotted amount of time to interview Person B. The roles will reverse and then Person B will interview Person A.

    The purpose for the interview is to allow both students time to get to know each other. Based on what they learn, they then create a personalized phrase about their interviewee. 

    I distribute the following template for more guided writing when necessary:


    Never _______________ partner's name ___________________.
    Never _______________ partner's name ___________________.
    But always _________________ partner's name ________________.


    After the interview process, students should be given quiet writing time to write their "Never" and "Always" phrases about their partner.

    When the activity is complete, have students share what they wrote about their partner. This will give everyone in the class an opportunity to speak, listen, and learn a little more about their classmates.

    The book itself is sweet and lends itself to being shared as a whole class activity. I love the expression on little faces when we read the story. I love the getting-to-know-each-other activity that follows. It is another opportunity to open the floor for student sharing and collaborative learning.

    Do you have a lesson that you use with the same book? We’d love to hear more! Please share in the comment section.

    Looking for more back-to-school picture book favorites? Check out this post from Genia Connell. She shares a few of my favorites and offers lesson ideas as well.


    Thank you for reading!




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