The thousands of students starting school in Wichita and surrounding areas today may share some first-day experiences: drowsy mornings, excited conversations, cautious strolls through crowded hallways.
But the way the day shapes up depends on where a student falls in the school spectrum. Here is a sampling of what some students, from timid kindergartners to been-there-done-that high school seniors, can expect today:
Kindergartners in Cindy Deutsch's class at Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary will:
* Find the date, count 31 days in August, talk about the weather and chart it on the calendar.
* Sing the "Five Little Monkeys" song.
* Listen to Deutsch read "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten," by Joseph Slate.
* Recite traditional nursery rhymes such as "Jack and Jill," "Humpty Dumpty," "Hickory Dickory Dock" and "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater."
* Practice washing their hands using one squirt of soap and one paper towel — or the "butterfly dry" (waving hands back and forth).
* Learn Ms. Deutsch's rule for glue: "A dot does a lot."
Third-graders in Elissa Ellis' class at Jefferson Elementary School will:
* Learn why almost everything in her classroom — curtains, rugs, baskets, one wall — is purple. (Ellis is a graduate and loyal fan of Kansas State University.)
* Read and discuss the story "First Day Jitters," from the third-grade reading text.
* Practice proper hallway behavior, including the three things you can do when you see someone you know: wink, wave or smile.
* Get to know classmates by playing "Find Someone Who..."
* Begin building a "number museum" with receipts, labels and other items with numerals on them.
Sixth-graders in Letoyia Van Daley's language arts classes at Curtis Middle School will:
* Hear Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" on the classroom stereo.
* Wear the standardized dress: khaki or navy shorts or pants, white or navy collared shirts — shirts tucked in, belts in loops, no hats, no sagging.
* Organize their "CLUTCH" binders (Communication and Learning Unification Tool for Curtis and Home), which includes a daily agenda.
* Interview a classmate they don't know, work up a speech and introduce that person to the rest of the class.
* Get started on the "25 Book Campaign," an effort to encourage students, teachers and staff members to read at least 25 books a year.
Juniors and seniors in Andrew Davis' English or humanities classes at Northwest High School will:
* Watch the 26-minute documentary, "Why Man Creates," and talk about the relationship between creativity and humanity.
* Get a syllabus that outlines the semester's readings, including Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," Archibald MacLeish's "J.B.: A Play in Verse," and Elie Wiesel's "Night."
* Read a short essay or poem — possibly from Ted Kooser's "Winter Morning Walks" — and discuss it.
* Talk about the need to evolve into adulthood, to set goals and meet them and to create meaning from written and spoken language.
* Briefly review class rules, which Davis describes as: "You've been to kindergarten. What you learned there pretty much applies here."