I recommend starting any school year with this simple, fun, and powerful strategy. We would of course have Questioning/Circling with Balls involved in a big way in our first weeks of instruction, but the potential to bring great instruction all the way through to May by using one word images as a launching pad for the Invisibles program is fantastic.
The strategy of One Word Images provides a large amount of language input, brings the class together for a common goal, allows us to set the Classroom Rules firmly in place, and on top of those things we get a lot of adorable Invisibles for our classroom walls – characters that the class loves and that we can use to tell our first Invisibles stories a bit further on into the year.
Doing One Word Images sends the message to the class that we as their teachers are basically just there to admire their cute ideas and guide them in working together as a group to be creative together, and that we think they are basically the smartest, coolest, and most creative kids on the planet, which they are.
The One Word Image process is a great fit for the beginning of the school year because, in its extreme simplicity, it helps teachers new to comprehension-based instruction to hone their delivery skills and to find their own teaching style using CI.