Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hard Work

I have started something in my classroom that I think will leave a lasting impression on my students. 

As a teacher, you can request the Foundation for a Better Life Values posters. While you can't select the posters you get, you CAN design awesome lessons around those that are sent. A link will be provided at the bottom for those educators that want to try doing this as well.

Last month our poster focused on Compassion. It was a poster with Mother Teresa on it.

We learned about her and her life. We studied what compassion is and how we show it. Then I challenged the students to look for ways to show compassion. As they found ways to serve each other and those around them, they would fill out cards that explained what they did and I stapled them around the poster of Mother Teresa. By the end of the month almost everyone in the class had filled out at least one card. When the month ended, I took all the cards, hole-punched them, and put them on a ring that is currently hanging by my desk. Since I use, edmodo (another post someday about this site), I was also able to award those students that participated a badge. 

This month, I choose the poster for HARD WORK:

I went to the Foundation for a Better Life website and printed the mini-billboard off for each student. I also printed the blurb that is provided for each poster that tells about the featured person. 

In our Think Pad journals (journals that are used only for specific activities such as these) we glued in the mini-poster, the blurb, and then I had the students write for 3-5 minutes on what they thought the topic meant/what it meant to them.  At the end of the time, volunteers shared their thoughts. Only a couple wanted to share at first, but it snowballed quickly in to a class share.

This month, for the display, I had them transfer what they thought hard word meant to the pages I had printed off. I must admit, some of the students had less than stellar ideas of what hard work is (not really shocking looking at how most youth function today), but a few really caught my eye with wisdom that truly was beyond their years.

As the students handed in their mini-poster on what hard word meant to them, I hung them around the big poster. (I will say that I had envisioned them being much easier to read, but the students used pens and pencils and they didn't show up as well. I will fix that next time.) On the bottom of the page I had it say, "This message brought to you by ______________________" and I had the student sign their name.

This is what my bulletin board looks like. It is located in our classroom. I think this could be a powerful message for other students if it were displayed in the hallway, however, I want them to see it EVERY DAY, several times. Therefore I post it at the front of the room.

The pictures above and below are examples of a student Think Pads. The one below includes the student's definition as well.

These next two pictures are close-up's of the student's definitions. 
These were rewrites of their journal definitions.

I hope that this will help to inspire you to try something new with your students/class/family.

(Oh, the site where educators can request the posters can be found by clicking HERE.)



  1. John, that is a fantastic lesson and I am certainly going to steal it! I think the display needs to move out to the hall once you start a new "Value". That way the new one is front and center with the class and the priors can be shared with other students.

    Love it!

  2. What a wonderful lesson, Mr. H! And there's no better example than Mother Teresa.

    Love your new blog look, too.

  3. I saw this in person and STILL need to implement it in my classroom.

    I will do so, my friend.

    Much thanks yet again.

  4. Being me, I accidentally hit the delete link instead of post for my wife's aunt's post. So, here it is (Sorry Patsy):

    "Very excellent idea John. We read a story in our book about Jim Thorpe and I know one of those posters is about him. I think I may use it when we read that story. Thanks for the idea. Is our class going to make a billboard of their own. I noticed you can do that.
    Thanks for sharing!"

  5. I love this idea.
    You know, if you weren't doing such a fabulous job with them in your classroom, I might be tempted to co-opt the idea for the whole school...
    ...but I won't... lol


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