Clothesline Clues To The First Day Of School

Written by
Kathryn Heling and
Deborah Hembrook

Illustrated by Andy Robert Davies
(Charlesbridge, June 2019)

Book Description
School is starting soon! Who
will be there to welcome you?
From the crossing guard to your
teacher to the custodian – get
ready to meet them all!

“High on the clothesline
Hang clue after clue.
It’s the first day of school!
Who wants to meet you?”

Clothesline Clues To The First Day Of School at >>



Extension Activities for Educators and Families


School Wide Celebration
Every classroom teacher reads the story to the class on the first day of school or it could be read at an assembly. If read at an assembly the different teachers and staff could introduce themselves when appropriate. After several readings, students decorate posters for the various classrooms and school spaces (library, art room, music room, cafeteria, gym, office, nurse, etc.):

Mr. Hauser! Your First Grade Teacher!

Ms. Christy and Mr. Jerry! Your Cafeteria Cooks!

The posters should include photos and could be designed with a clothesline similar to the book. The posters are displayed outside of the room so all are welcomed as they enter. Toward the entrance to school or around the office area each child could design a similar poster to celebrate their school community. Each poster could say:

WELCOME TO ______________ SCHOOL!
______________ is waiting to meet you!

Many schools are launching the year with a school wide book that celebrates community. Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School is about WHO is waiting and wanting to be a part of a school family. Remember….it takes a village!

‘I’m Hanging Out With Friends’ project
Create a clothesline with yarn on poster board. Design a t-shirt with your name on it and place it in the middle of the clothesline. Now put friends on each side –– could be fancy shapes with names or more t-shirt designs. Make sure your t-shirt is a bit bigger than the others. Teachers... make sure ALL friends are included in the class!



Names on Clotheslines
Look at the cover of the book –– each word is spelled out on a clothesline. Each child can create letters that spell out their name and then hang them on a string or yarn clothesline. Use poster board for the background and popsicle sticks for the poles. The letters can be cut out of wrapping paper or regular construction paper. What a fun way to get to know each other’s names in the beginning of the year!

Point of View Writing
Find all of the squirrels on the different pages in the book. Which is your favorite squirrel scenario? Write a story from the squirrel’s point of view in that scenario you chose. Name the squirrel and make him the main character in your story. What is he thinking? Is there a problem he is experiencing? What will he do next and how is he feeling? Are there other characters in your story? Happy writing!



Counting Clothespins
Count the clothespins on each page in the story. Which page has the most, and which has the least? Are there any pages that have the same amount? Create a Clothespin Graph which displays page numbers and clothespin amounts. Color code the different rows to show the differences. Create addition and comparison problems by using the graph as a data tool.

I Spy Patterns
Find all of the different patterns in the book –– laundry basket, shirt pattern, classroom carpet, etc. Go on an ‘I Spy Patterns’ hunt around your home or classroom. There are patterns outside, too! Take a notebook, paper or iPad so that you can take notes, draw the patterns or take pictures during your hunt. How many patterns did you find? Which was your favorite?



artFind all of the backpacks in the story. Which is your favorite? Design your own backpack out of paper or other materials. Hang the backpack creations on a clothesline to celebrate the first day of school.

Look at the bird mobiles on the art teacher pages. Make bird mobiles out of paper plates, and feathers. Add google eyes and paint blotches and other various material to make them quirky birdies!



Map and Globe Fun
Find the globe and map in the story, Clothesline Clues to the First Day of School. What is a globe? How is it different than the map shown in the classroom? Depending on the age of the children, learn map and globe facts. Why are there different colors on the map? What is a compass rose? Design your own map of your neighborhood or classroom.

How do other children around the world start school? When do they start school? What clothes do they wear? Is there a ‘pen pal’ you could write to from a different country? The word ‘Welcome’ is written across the bulletin board on the classroom page. How do you say ‘Welcome’ in different languages? What is the sign language for the word, ‘Welcome’?

Do see the garbage and recycling containers in the story? What does the recycling symbol mean? Do you recycle at your school? Make posters for your school similar to the one above the garbage and recycling bins on the custodian page in the story. Include messages about helping the environment.

Find the placemat and menu on the cafeteria pages. What are the different food groups? Design a fancy menu with your favorite foods from the different food groups. Add pictures to match. Invite your cafeteria cooks to come talk to the class.


copyright © 2019