May 11, 2014

Fan Posters

Finished! Every year I forget how long these posters take to make. But they're worth it. Most of my students forget we take a test an hour after, but the ones who filled out the pages on Wednesday asked for their posters as soon as they arrived in class on Friday. This morning I finished the other class' who will get them back tomorrow. 

It's a multi-step process:
1) use excel to make a grid with the phrase "I'm a fan of ___" with every student's name in the class. 
2) fill the copier with multicolored paper, make one per kid. 
3) instruct class to write something nice about their classmates, make it more personal than "they're nice"
4) don't let them hand in the paper without filling in every box. Many kids will skip their own name. Admonish them and tell them "you should be your own biggest fan!"
5) cut them up so you have a pile for each kid. If the class is big you'll need to trim the boxes. 
6) make sure to read them all. Toss any that are inappropriate. 
7) solve the puzzle- arrange all the pieces on another piece of paper, leaving enough space for their name. If you're like me the colors need to be distributed which makes this puzzle that much harder. 
8) attach via glue stick 
9) write their name across the top
10) hand them to kids and watch them smile and share and re-read several times. 

The process would take less than 10 steps if I did it differently, but I like that the final product has the notes in the original handwriting. I enjoy reading the comments kids leave and I cherish my own posters. They are hanging in my office at home and my classroom. 

This year a student who can get riled up and isn't always the most considerate in the moment did the best job. He wrote something personal for every student- many students write 1-2 words but he filled the entire box with incredibly thoughtful comments. I knew he had that side to him but I honestly didn't expect it to come across so clearly in this activity. Kids are always surprising me in wonderful ways.