Unformed Idea #1: Classroom Culture Wall
Every morning I get up a few hours before anyone else in my house. I use this quiet time to read, think, write, and drink coffee–it’s my time. It’s also a lonely time. Sometimes solitude is good, but other times I wish there was someone with whom to share the a-ha moments. Hence, I keep a journal. Actually, journals…and index cards…and many, many unfinished docs on the computer–ideas that I hope to turn into something else, to share with others through my blog, a book, or even just a conversation.
I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah earlier this summer. Ifemelu, the main character, is a blogger. I read Ifemelu’s blog posts included in the book and admired her keen sense of observation and direct language. I read about her experience of transforming her blogging hobby into a full-time career with a wistful sense of hope. But it was a quick mention of one type of blog post that really stuck with me–Ifemelu called it “Mishmash Fridays.” Her Mishmash Friday posts allowed her to list some of the things she was thinking about without all the behind-the-scenes work of a typical blog post.
I realized that if I could incorporate Mishmash Fridays into my own blog, I could share some of these scraps of paper, this brainwork I collect. Perhaps some of these ideas I’ve been mulling over, unable to shape into anything concrete, will inspire another teacher who has the time to work his or her magic on it and bring it to the classroom.
So in the spirit of summer planning and back-to-school excitement, I offer you my first unformed idea: a culture wall.
I’m working on this myself, but by the time I get it complete, take some pictures, and explain the process, we’ll be three months into the school year, and if you are similarly inspired, you’re going to need to act now to get this off the ground when your students enter your classroom in August or September.
Some ideas and background information to get you started:
- This article from Ben Hardy gave me the initial idea.
- This Chicago Tribune article shows how Loyola’s Wall of Culture inspires a common vision and vocabulary within the basketball team.
- Some of these images are a little too corporate, and others don’t even have words, but I was inspired by the variety of expression in these photos.
- I like how this Psychology Today article explains that we have to go beyond posting the ideas–we must truly integrate the values into our culture. Think about what that looks like in a classroom.
Our students see the classroom rules on the wall in every classroom they enter. What if we start posting the things they can do, as opposed to the things they can’t? We know that Word Walls work. Anyone willing to give Culture Walls a try?
Please share with me what you do and how your students respond. I’m definitely going to revisit this idea in the fall; it would be great to have some examples to share!