One of my favourite poems is First Day at School mainly because it encapsulates the whole range of emotions children experience on their very first day at school, strangers in an unfamiliar environment, where they will -- willy-nilly-- spend half -- if no more-- of their day.
If your students are mostly children and teenagers, you could ask them to sketch something, no matter how rough it may be, to illustrate their own first day at school. Explain it doesn’t have to be a realistic image – simply a representation of first impressions and gut reactions.
It is not so important for them to verbalise their experience as to convey a feel of the situation for the time being. It could be something like this
Following this introductory activity you could draw up a list of questions to ask, which will elicit some of the poem content though possibly in a different light.
§ What was the first sound that you registered?
§ Did you mix with other children before going into class?
§ How did you feel when you realised you couldn’t leave school?
§ Did the railings look scary? How?
§ What was your understanding of the word “lesson” before you started school?
§ What did your classroom look like? Did you find any aspect(s) of the classroom odd/disturbing?
§ What did your first teacher look like? Was s/he intimidating in any sense? Explain.
The students could write down their answers and compare notes to see how similar or divergent their experiences were.
Following that, you can show them the slide show without the lines the first time and ask them to tell the story of this First Day at School based on the sequence of images in the slide show. It would make the task easier for the students if you provided some key words or if you brainstormed the key words. They should be free to interpret the images and their relevance themselves; you might find the result mind-boggling!
Alternatively, you could provide the first word of each line and ask the students to continue the line or even supply the last word of the line or both. The possibilities are endless, and you can improvise depending on the level and the aptitude of your students.