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4th Grade ELAR/Social Studies

great tips!!!

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great tips!!!

1st Grade Teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

LOVE!!!

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LOVE these ideas!!!

Thanks for sharing! I hadn't been exposed to any of the three ideas, but I am completely on board with student-centered and student-created classrooms. I can see my first graders using the heart map. I especially like it as a beginning of the year activity...when I want to get to know them and they need to get to know each other. This is a great community builder. I can't wait to share it! I want to use the brain map with a KWL purpose. At the beginning of a unit each child would get a brain. They will write what they know about a particular topic...EX: butterflies. As they learn, they could add to their brain. My first graders would really like this! I would probably do this as a whole class in the beginning of the year, because I know they would need a lot of modeling!

Awesome =)

Renee'

I absolutely love the idea of

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I absolutely love the idea of beginning the year with blank walls. As a teacher, I feel that it is so important for students to act as a family and take ownership of what is theirs. The idea of letting them decorate their space is a wonderful way to start the school year. I love it.

first grade teacher

Coming up with a topic to

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Coming up with a topic to write about is difficult for first grade students. I love the idea of putting up the heart, brain and shield as classroom decorations. What a great idea! Not only would they be interesting student centered decorations but they would also be useful tools to help build writing fluency in the room. If all of the students contribute to the decorations then they would take ownership of the classroom. What a great way to build a community and encourage writing at the same time. I think I would also add the map of the community and possibly the world map depending on the amount of space I have in my room. The more ideas the students have to write about the more confident they will become in their writing skills. Thanks for the ideas.

What a fabulous idea! I know

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What a fabulous idea! I know that we are well into the school year but I love this idea! I struggle at the beginning of the year with trying to decide where to put things and what to include on my classroom canvas. Being that I am a teacher who is all about my students, I love the idea of including the classroom canvas and making it 100% student centered. What a wonderful way for the students to get to know each other and form a stronger sense of commnity together. I plan to implement this idea next year for certain but even sooner if I can! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

I love the idea of starting

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I love the idea of starting out in a room as a blank canvas. The students are what the classroom is going to be. I love walking into a classroom and seeing the art work, writings, and other things accomplished by the people that stay in there the most(other than the teacher)-the students. It is after all their room for the year too!

I really love the idea for the "heart map" and "brain map".

Thank you for sharing these

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Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas! As a fairly new teacher, I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into my classroom. I love to scrapbook, so I decorate my classroom with the idea that it is a big scrapbook page, but I never considered using student work as my only décor. I plan to make more of an effort to display student art work and daily work to let the students know that I value who they are. I also love the idea of having the students write about what they know in the brain map. It is so important to establish good classroom community and this activity will certainly help as my students share with their peers. I look forward to using these activities in my own classroom!

Thank you for sharing these

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Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas! As a fairly new teacher, I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into my classroom. I love to scrapbook, so I decorate my classroom with the idea that it is a big scrapbook page, but I never considered using student work as my only décor. I plan to make more of an effort to display student art work and daily work to let the students know that I value who they are. I also love the idea of having the students write about what they know in the brain map. It is so important to establish good classroom community and this activity will certainly help as my students share with their peers. I look forward to using these activities in my own classroom!

5th Grade Teacher

Building class community through their work!

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Thank you for sharing your article. I agree that building community in a classroom is one of the most effective ways to create a caring and comfortable classroom environment. I enjoy holding morning /afternoon meeting s with my class to reflect on the challenges ahead or the challenges of the day. I also incorporate many team building activities into my lessons. However, I never really thought about creating a classroom environment is not only about building relationships but about building a student centered room. I always tell the students “this is our classroom community” but when reflecting about the décor of the room I noticed laminated posters, old cutouts, and teacher bought decorations. I thought to myself that this does not look like our classroom community but a classroom built on the teacher’s ideas and décor. I have decided to take community to a whole new level by having the students decorate our classroom with their writing pieces, art projects, and class projects. I am excited to use your idea of the brain map in the classroom. My students love sharing what they know with others and this will be a fantastic way to display their information around the room and give others the chance to learn new things. I cannot wait to see my classroom grow with student work and notice the change in a more student centered environment, thank you.

fourth grade teacher, PA Writing and Literature project fellow

Maps

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I also do a neighborhood map. The kids draw a map of a place they love and mark places or objects that spark stories and memories. Jerry Spinelli and Ralph Fletcher both have maps in the front of their memoirs. This is probably a strategy from one of Fletcher's books.

I have used the brain and imagination map for a few years now thanks to you Gaetan!

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