Building Community & Inferring

One of the many benefits in working in a big grade level team (13 fifth grade teachers) is that I’m always getting amazing new ideas for my classroom from my fellow colleagues. This year I put into place a new idea which I took from my colleague. One of my colleagues, Leigh, does this great inferring interactive bulletin board in her classroom. I saw this in her room and immediately asked her what it was all about.

She starts the year by decorating this board with different items and mementos that are important to her. She puts books, photos, awards, cards, notes that show who she is. Then she has students infer about what they learn about her. Then, weekly, different students take turns to post items on the board about themselves.

This is a great way to get students to infer and also to build community in the classroom. Here was my board that I created for the first week of school.

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Now that we have been in school for quite a few weeks, it’s been great seeing the board change as different students take over. During our community circle time in the morning, the students will share what they infer. The student will let us know if we are correct or not. It also allows us to ask some great questions and hear more from the lives of our students.

Do you have any great interactive bulletin board ideas that you do in your classroom? Please share with us! 

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Stand 4 Change

Melody’s post from yesterday reminded me about something really great we did last Friday that helped build community in our school. We participated in Stand 4 Change for the first time. This event was led by our awesome guidance counselor.

Over 1.3 million students in over 2,100 schools participated on this event on Friday, May 4th at 12pm. There were students from schools in the US and over 40 other countries as well. We stood silently for 5 minutes in solidarity against bullying. Bullying is a huge problem not only in America, but in Korea as well.

All the students from the elementary school came outside to the field and stood together. We were led by 2 high school students who led the rally! They  read on the speakers different statistics about bullying. A few students help up a sign as well. It was great to see students, teachers and administrators standing together about an important issue. This is a good step in bringing awareness of the seriousness of bullying. Check out the video as well about anti-bullying application.

One way to create a Community

International schools around the world vary in their campus lay out. One thing I like (and at times dislike) about the international school I work at, is the fact that K-12 grades are all in the same building.

This provides a great opportunity for upper grade levels to be role models, and teach, younger grade levels. I have had high school students from a calculus class come in and measure  my student’s hands, and teach them about history, and I have had middle school students present about ancient Aztec times.

A couple of months ago, one of our science teachers asked the entire faculty to put up posters her students made in their classrooms, bringing an awareness to recycling and saving resources. As soon as I placed the student posters around my room, my students asked me about them. They had learned about natural resources at the beginning of the year, and they loved to see older students talking about the same thing.

What are some things you do to create a community of learners amongst your school?