You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
I was visiting classrooms in the Pacific Northwest this fall when I saw a lovely design flourish – bulletin borders handcrafted by children. In Beth Lawson’s room, the borders were delicate watercolors painted by her fourth graders. In another room, the borders were quotes selected and scrawled by the children, linked to their discussions about the growth mindset. “Be yourself – you’re best at it” was the exuberant frame around projects posted on one board.
I’ve never been a fan of commercial borders in classrooms – too cutesy and cheap, putting a standardized stamp on the walls before anything unique from kids can be posted. Since the rise of the Pinterestas, there are fewer commercial borders, but more over the top expressions of some teachers’ love for chevrons, polka dots, or zebra stripes. Borders handcrafted by children are such a small, teacherly thing, but they speak to a spirit of the class belonging to everyone in it, and a commitment to making it a beautiful place, even down to the smallest details. Maybe this might be a fun project for the waning days of school, a gift from departing students to the next community of children. Or maybe it’s an entry activity at the end of summer with new students, as a way into discussions about what is posted on the walls and why.
This week we consider anchor charts and displays, since many are coming down now and sparking reflection about what will be repeated next year and what will be discarded. Plus more as always – enjoy!
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Shari Frost has a suggestion for what shouldn’t be on classroom walls: student assessment scores. She explains why this practice can be harmful to students:
Joyful Endings: The Last Few Weeks of School from Responsive Classroom has a wealth of ideas for closing out the year in creative ways:
From Rebekah O’Dell at the Moving Writers blog, here are some quick project ideas for wrapping up a year of writing workshop with high school students:
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Melanie Swider shares the Power of Charts in her fifth-grade classrooms, with suggestions for making anchor charts more purposeful:
Andrea Smith builds interest in nonfiction in her fourth-grade classroom community through her constantly changing Information Board:
Gretchen Schroeder finds the classic Dinner Party assignment is a fun way for her high school students to explore kindred spirits in literature late in the school year:
In an encore video, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (the “Sisters“) share tips for displaying student work:
That’s all for this week!