Annette, one of my teacher besties, just had a launch to the year that she described as…well, let me use her words: “So, this was awesome. It was beyond awesome. Be-awesome!”
She started her high school English classes last week with a first day stations activity (click here for a free copy), but then took the activity a step further and incorporated her students’ answers into a word cloud classroom mission statement. The result is now posted in her room:
The word cloud was easy to build. She used this free online tool and “was not scientific at all. I eyeballed the Post-Its to identify the most-oft-repeated words, as well as the ones I knew would be important to highlight. Said no to perfectionist tendencies that could lead to time-suck and spent no more than 15 minutes listing the terms. Easy peasy.”
Just out of curiosity, I entered my class outline (you can grab a copy here) into the word cloud builder to see what my words had to say about my priorities and this was the result:
Disturbing, eh? My focus seems to be on work, homework, and me giving them things. Not exactly the student-centered message I want to send. Without question, I prefer the version created by Annette’s kids, who declared for themselves that time, quiet, hard work, and focus were among their most important needs. I hear you, kids.
Teach on, everyone!