Skills Building: The Day You Begin (PK-5)

Written by Jacqueline Woodson and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Pre Reading Questions

  1. In what ways are we all different?
  2. What might the world be like if we were all the same?
  3. How do our differences make the world a more beautiful place?
  4. How can we celebrate others’ differences?
  5. What makes you unique?

Post Reading Questions

  1. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like there was no one quite like you? How did that feel?
  2. What did the students in the story do when someone was different than them? What should you do when someone is different from you?
  3. What happened to Angelina when she shared her story? Have you ever shared something and found that you had things in common with someone that you did not know?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Tie-Dye Hands (Pre-K-5)

Overview: There is no one quite like you! In this activity, students will create tie-dye paper. While all students will use the same materials, they will achieve very different results. Each student will complete a beautiful piece of one-of-a-kind art!


● White computer paper
● Plastic cups
● Food coloring
● Paper towels
● Hairdryer
● Water
● Pencils
● Scissors (for staff only)


Duration: 45 minutes

● 3 minutes: Explain activity, pass out paper
● 5 minutes: Fold paper
● 25 minutes: Tie-dye and dry
● 5 minutes: Trace hands
● 2 minutes: Clean up
● 5 minutes: Share and reflect


  1. Before the activity, set up 4 stations: the folding station, the tie dye station, the drying station and the tracing station.
  2. In the folding station, have paper ready.
  3. In the tie-dye station, set up cups filled about halfway with water. Put 7-10 drops of food coloring in each cup. The more concentrated, the brighter the tie dye paper will be. Prepare multiple color choices. (Note: If you mix red and blue food coloring, you get purple. If you mix red and yellow food coloring, you get orange.)
  4. In the drying station, set up drying tables near outlets with hair dryers. (Note: A staff member will need to monitor this station to ensure that students use the hairdryer safely. For the youngest students, staff may need to assist.)
  5. In the tracing station, have pencils and space for students to trace.
  6. Gather students at the folding station and pass out white computer paper to each student.
  7. Instruct students to fold their paper. Accordion folds back and forth tend to be successful, but any type of folding should work.
  8. Students will fold until they create a small triangle. (This does not have to be exact.) The shape should be about the size of the palm of their hand.
  9. Next, call students over in small groups to begin the tie-dying process.
  10. Ask students to select three colors each.
  11. Students will dip one corner of their folded shape into the first color. Hold the corner in the water for 20-30 seconds.
  12. Next, they will flip the shape around and dip another corner into a second color. Repeat for a third color.
  13. Place the shape on a paper towel. Roll the shape into the paper towel multiple times.
  14. Press down and squeeze out the excess liquid. Some liquid will bleed through.
  15. Next, unroll the paper towel to reveal the damp shape.
  16. Have the student take the damp shape over to the hair drying station.
  17. Gently and slowly unfold the shape and lay the paper out flat. (Note: The paper is very delicate at this point and if they are not gentle, the paper will rip. Staff may need to help students who are struggling with unfolding.)
  18. Point the hair dryer into the middle of the paper and turn on. Use until the paper is stiff and dry.
  19. Once the paper is dry, have students partner up.
  20. On the back of the paper where there is less color, students will trace their hands and forearms and write their first and last name on the *inside* of their tracing. (This way, student names will still show even after the hands are cut out of the sheet.)
  21. Clean up all of the materials and put everything away, except for their paper.
  22. Gather students into groups to share and reflect.
  23. Staff cut out student hands afterward to be displayed.