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Back-to-School Journal Prompts for the First Day of School

Updated: Jul 3

As a teacher, the first day of school sets the tone for the entire academic year. One effective way to engage your students from day one is through journal prompts. These prompts not only help students reflect on their hopes and goals but also provide a meaningful writing activity that you can revisit at the end of the year to see their growth and progress.


Here are some journal writing prompt ideas for the first day of school:



Back-to-School Journal Prompts for Elementary Students


  1. Introduce Yourself: Write about your favorite things, such as your favorite food, color, and hobby. What makes you unique?

  2. Current Feelings: Write about how you feel on the first day of school. What are you excited about? What are you nervous about?

  3. Summer Memories: Describe your best summer memory. What did you do, and why was it so special?

  4. Goals for the Year: What are three things you hope to learn or achieve this school year?

  5. Superpower Dreams: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? How would you use it to help others?

  6. Favorite Book: Write about your favorite book or story. Why do you like it, and what is your favorite part?

  7. Dream Field Trip: If you could go on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? What would you do there?


Back-to-School Journal Prompts for Middle School


  1. Personal Growth: Reflect on how you’ve changed over the past year. What new skills or interests have you developed?

  2. A Letter to Future Me: Write a letter to yourself that you’ll read at the end of the year. What advice do you have for your future self?

  3. Friendship: What qualities do you value in a friend? Write about your best friend and why they are important to you.

  4. Favorite Subject: What is your favorite subject in school and why? What do you hope to learn in that subject this year?

  5. Dream Career: What is your dream job, and what steps do you think you need to take to achieve it?

  6. Future Invention: Imagine you invented something amazing. What is it, and how does it help people?

  7. Magic Notebook: You discover that anything you write in your notebook comes true. What do you write on the first day of school?


Back-to-School Journal Prompts for High School


  1. Personal Reflection: Describe a challenge you faced last year and how you overcame it. What did you learn from the experience?

  2. Future Aspirations: Where do you see yourself in five years? What goals do you have for the future?

  3. Role Models: Write about someone you admire and why. How have they influenced your life?

  4. Hobbies and Interests: What activities or hobbies are you passionate about? How do they contribute to your personal growth?

  5. Bucket List: List five things you want to accomplish before you graduate high school. Why are these goals important to you?

  6. School Utopia: Design your ideal school utopia. What are the rules, what subjects are taught, and what activities are available?


Revisiting First Day of School Journal Prompts at the End of the Year


At the end of the school year, revisit these journal entries with your students. This activity not only provides a great opportunity for reflection but also allows students to see how much they’ve grown and changed over the year. Discuss the goals they set on the first day and celebrate the progress they've made. This reflective practice can be incredibly rewarding for both students and teachers, fostering a sense of accomplishment and growth.


Using journal prompts on the first day of school is a fantastic way to engage students and set the stage for a year of growth and learning. These prompts can help students express themselves, set goals, and reflect on their experiences. Revisiting these entries at the end of the year provides valuable insights into their development and creates a memorable learning experience. Start your school year with these thoughtful journal prompts and watch your students flourish!



Back to school journal prompts for the first day of school | journal on desk

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