One of the first things people comment on when they first enter my classroom is my GINORMOUS Family and Friends Board.
The fact is our kiddos are people :0) They love their families and their families love them (even if it doesn't always seem like it or it's not shown the way we think it should be).....
People say to me what a great thing this board is for the kids.... And, I agree. my kids love it! It really helps them "own" our classroom. They feel like they are apart of our "kindergarten world" - like staking claim to our classroom and all the things that go on inside our 4 walls.
My kids often visit the board when they are in the block center or abc center (which happen to be beside the board). They also will visit during writer's workshop at times.
Oh, the oral language that takes place concerning the photos on that board is incredible. Kids talk about some of their photos....when the photo was taken, what they were doing, who is in the photo with them, etc. But they are even more interested in other kids' photos. I have a few children with connections to Africa. One of my student's has a photo with his mom dressed up in traditional African garments. Boy, that is the talk of the room! I have lots of children from Mexico with a variety of traditions that can be seen through the photos. What great diversity learning for these kiddos!
.......but, as important as I think this board is to my students and their growth socially, emotionally, and yes academically - I know this board is important to me too.
As a teacher who has taught many children now..... it's easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks and stresses. It's easy to get lost in pushing kids to excel according to state standards. It's easy to get lost when you have a "sweet-tart". But, this board allows me a chance to reflect on the children they are....the people they are.... the families they belong to..... The hopes and dreams that they and their family have for the future...... And, it makes me realize how truly lucky I am to be apart of their lives. I am honored each day to impact my students' lives and I pray that I do it in such a way that will help them move one step further to their hopes and dreams!
As a kindergarten teacher, they may or may not remember me in the future....but I hope and pray I can make a deposit in their heart and soul that makes them just a little better than when I first met them.... :0)
At the beginning of each year, I send home a 5x7 in manilla envelope with the following note attached:
You can grab you FREEBIE note for your own "Family and Friends" board HERE!!
Tell me what you think! Have you ever had a board like this? What are your thoughts and feeling? I'm interested to hear!