The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
There is a giant spider web along my front walk. It is framed by two bushes, and the pink clematis serves as a backdrop. In the morning it catches drops of dew and sunbeams, sending sparkles to greet any passerby.
Everyone pauses when they see it. Not only because of its size (however big you are thinking, think bigger), but also because of its intricate design. It is a masterpiece.
I’ve seen a number of webs in my lifetime, yet few have stuck with me like this particular web. I’m reminded of our classrooms. Each August, we weave together a group of lives into one massive web. We become intricately connected.
How can we set our “webs” apart, making them masterpieces? I think we can learn from the spider. She weaves each strand together, linking them at different points. We can do this with our students, connecting them to one another based on shared interests as well as common experiences. Each strand is linked at more than one point, adding strength to the web. When we spend time connecting students to one another, we link the community in an intricate way. In addition, the spider takes time to weave her web. It isn’t a process that can be rushed. It takes time to build a masterpiece. By learning lessons from the spider, we can create classroom communities that sparkle even more beautifully than the web along my walk.
This week we look at how to build community early in the school year. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Ruth Ayres is a full-time writing coach for Wawasee School District in northern Indiana. She blogs at Ruth Ayres Writes.
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Here are two resources from the archives to help you think through building community when students return to classrooms later this summer.
Katie Doherty explains how she uses a favorite book to bring students together early in the year in Seedfolks: Connecting Community and Literature:
Sharing one text across an entire school is a powerful way to launch the year. Katherine Sokolowski describes the process in One Book, One School: Building Community with Shared Text:
Responsive Classroom has suggestions for Keeping Morning Meeting Greetings Fresh and Fun:
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Katherine Sokolowski finds that the beginning of the year is the best time to build community with a unit on character and morals through literature:
Max Brand continues his new tutoring series. This week he designs a creative intake assessment for Ruth, a first grader who struggles with following directions:
Karen Terlecky uses sea glass as a metaphor for the assessments she completes to launch the year, and data analysis all year long:
In this week’s video, Ruth Ayres confers with fifth grader Wesley about his personal narrative on scouting:
We’re off next week for our annual one-week summer break. If you’ve been swamped over the past few months and haven’t had much time to visit the site, you can catch up on the articles and videos you’ve missed in the Big Fresh Archives:
That’s all for this week!