In August, I shared plans of how my second graders would create an identity frame to showcase their work throughout the year. I hoped that these personal frames would become each child’s unique place in the classroom – a spot that was all about each of them.
As I’ve gotten to know these learners, I realized that celebrating our growth, our hard work, and what we love is exactly what we need to do. So every Friday during morning meeting, the children choose something that represents their hard work from the week. Some grab their science journal, many select a book, while others flip through their writing folder for the piece they just created. A few choose something they drew or even math manipulatives to represent a game they played. It doesn’t matter. They tell the class what they selected, and they often say, “I am proud of _____________ because I am a _______- (writer, scientist, mathematician, reader, etc…).” They show the class their artifact and I snap a picture. Then, during my prep, I print an 8×10 image and the kids hang their new picture in their frame.
I can’t tell you how much joy these photos bring to our classroom. I often see kids smiling and pointing at their pictures as they walk through the room.
Even though these photos capture each student’s proudest moment of the week, they are also there when learning feels tough. A quick walk over to see their picture helps put learning difficulties in perspective.
These photos are there for me too. They help keep my worries in check. When I turn on the lights each morning, these faces on the wall help me remember that joyful learning is what really matters.
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