Part of the Process

Thoughts on becoming a teacher.

The Wall!

4 Comments

Before the break, I was really looking forward to heading back to my main placement for a week. I ended up having a great week. I appreciated the chance to reconnect with my students, to see the progress they made and all the projects they were working on. The school I’m at had a big influx of students this past year and as a result, many classrooms are in portables. Being in a brand new portable has a few advantages, mostly heat and air conditioning related. I realized while I was back, that our class is kind of isolated though. Whenever I walk through the main halls of the school, I find myself lingering over the vibrant displays of student work. My students aren’t getting the opportunity to share their work in such a public way. Back in the portable, there was some student work displayed, but wall space was pretty much all used up. With the permission of my cooperating teacher, I decided what we needed to help this situation was a big space devoted to student work. A place that could highlight projects and work that students were proud of and one that would be immediately visible to any visitors coming in.

The Wall!   My Cooperating Teacher thought it would be a good idea to have the students name this new space. We started with a few suggestions, The Wall of Awesome, The Wall of Epic. As a class we brainstormed for several minutes and came up with many ideas: The Wall of !, The Wall of Fabulousness/Stuff/Greatness/Talent. This is sixth grade we’re talking about, so we also had the Wall of Swag, OMG! and Yolo! (of course). In the end the class voted and decided on The Wall!

I’m looking forward to seeing the showcased work when I return next week. I hope this gives the students in this class a bit of the recognition they deserve. When summer rolls around and I’ve had Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” stuck in my head for six months, I’m sure I’ll be appreciating the air conditioning in the portable even more.

UPDATE (2/9/14): The Wall!

It took me awhile, but I was finally able to get more than a few papers up on the “The Wall!”. The students in my class just completed a writing unit on Inclusion. This was a powerful unit and the students did a lot of deep thinking about empathy and understanding. Their final project for the unit was a five paragraph essay on the topic. They worked hard on these papers and I think every student wrote a paper they can be proud of. Yesterday, I hung all the papers up. As the students filed in this morning, more than a few gasped. They actually gasped! My cooperating teacher noticed a few students walk over to touch their paper. My teacher even invited parents to come check out the essays, if they were ever in the neighborhood. I loved it!

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4 thoughts on “The Wall!

  1. This is so fantastic! It is so important for students to know that their work is important and impressive. Displaying their work accomplishes both of these. Many schools I have been in have places both in the classroom and in the hallways of the school. From your post it sounds like The Wall is in your portable. Seeing their work up on display can be powerful. I am curious of the audience that gets to see the work matters to students. I wonder if it makes a difference whether it is in the classroom or in the hallways for all to see.

    • The Wall is in the portable. I think the audience is important, although I’m not sure that many of my sixth graders would say that out loud. I find myself wishing there was a more public space for my class to display their work. I think I’ll check into that when I head back next week.

  2. Showing student work is so important! I’m glad you and your CT were taking pains to make sure there was a public space just for this purpose. I’m also inspired by how you had students help you name the space, what better a way to inspire them to value their shared spaces than to have them help name and adorn it. This gets me thinking about how I can apply this to my own teaching experience to help promote community in my classroom.

  3. This is so inspiring! I really appreciate you sharing what you have done within your classroom at your main placement. I think it is great that you took it upon yourself to stand up for something you believed important for your students. This is a great example of that “gritty love” we discussed in class this week. You were advocating for your students because you care. It was important that they had the recognition for their hard work. Students do work very hard every day in the classroom and I think having the ability to see their hard work up on the wall gives them the motivation to keep working hard throughout the school year. I really admire that you took the stance you took and the result that came along with it. Like Veritably Clean, I am also inspired by how you had the students brainstorm a name for the shared space. I think this brings more meaning to the space and the students value it even more!

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