In November of last year, I had the opportunity to tour a Reggio Emilia inspired school in my area and see the classrooms. One of the things that absolutely captured my heart was the child generated print materials.
It was so inspiring! I came back resolved to toss my commercial made materials and have the children make them. Here is what I have done so far:
I use index cards to make the calendar. We “x”-out the days we are not in school. On school days, the special helper draws a picture for the day. We staple that on top of the index card already on the board.At the end of the day, the special helper recalls three things about the day and I record it on index card under the picture. (You can see how it makes a flap above) We can review what we did that week, yesterday, and so forth.
I had the children work in pairs to create individual month posters. I had the children work in pencil and crayons. I traced their writing with a sharpie. I noticed at this school that black was used frequently to frame the writing. I put each month on a black paper and laminated them. Now, I am shifting my calendar board to black as well (my project for tomorrow!).
I think they are much more beautiful than the commercial months found in calendar sets! See! Who needs to buy a calendar set? Save your money and have the children make it!
The children created name cards for checking in every morning. I had them write with pencil and I traced their writing with a sharpie. Love their handwriting!
They made their own name cards for our restroom procedure. (Here they are all bunched up!) They have to hang their name up to go to the restroom so I know who is out of the room. Only one girl and one boy can be gone at one time. This is a Responsive Classroom idea that I adore for safety. I have other commercial posters that I am going to have the children make for me and I will post those as they are made!!
There is such a wonderful ownership in the room when their developmental stage of handwriting (the way the letters are generated) is honored and cherished. It brings warmth and a deep feeling of respect for children. It moves me to see their writing instead of something from a teacher's store.
I love this! I personally get so caught up in thinking that things must look a certain way that I forget it’s not all about me!
I am going to look into something like this for my library.
I love this! I LOVE Reggio method! Can’t wait to do this!
We used to do the calendar thing, except the part where you write down the top 3 things done that day. I had no idea it was the Reggio method!
I just found your blog, and love it! My 2.5 year old is has been showing an interest in days of the week and the concept of yesterday/tomorrow/next month, etc. This would be a fun activity for us — I imagine that if she has a hand in creating it, the concepts will be more salient. Thanks!
Thank you Rachelle!
Cheryl – this is inspired by my visit to this school that uses Reggio – they are much more high tech and this is my adaptation. How cool that you were doing that!
I have a new calendar set-up that is so cool. I have too much fun with this stuff. . .
I’m intrigued to use the restroom sign out as an accountability method, too. Not only to see who is out of the room, but also who has already gone! I like this so much more than a sign out sheet because its much more visable! I can tell at a glance who is using the bathroom as a”get out of jail free” card, vs. purely taking care of business. Thanks for this gem.
Third grade teacher
I have a cookie sheet velcroed on the door. When the children leave the classroom they put their name up with magnet letters. That way they are working on their names, I know who is gone and it’s not as friendly to go out in the hallway and play!
Thank you for sharing going to do this with my little ones and students, love Reggio so inspiring
A big hello from germany. Thank’s so much for sharing this nice calendar.
I am in awe that they let you take pictures. I have never been to a Reggio school where they let us take photos. Even if the kids are not there.
I too have the students make the days numbers and months for our calendar. We also do pattering with our pictures. The students decided to make rain clouds and sun pictures for the month of April and then decided to make a pattern with the pictures sun, sun, rain cloud…
We also write our own words on the word wall as they discover learn throughout the year. They write their names to start and place them under the correct letter of the alphabet. As the year progresses students add words that ghry find or copy from student dictionaries found in the classroom.
I love this idea and anything child generated, but I teach PK and most of my kids cannot even write their names when they arrive in September. I’m going to have to figure out how to do this with PKs. Maybe have a teacher produced one as a model for the first half of the year, and then have the children make it starting in January? Writing some of it and have children trace it? Not sure, but I will work it out.
Our school year begins with their name photocopied on pieces of paper. After breakfast our children clean up and “sign in.” They begin the year tracing their name with crayon so as to improve their grip. Markers are more of an instant gratification. Crayons call for a heavier hand to achieve that mark. Then the paper goes into a pocket next to a picture of the center they have chosen. This is their “plan” for the morning. As their skills in handwriting progress I change their papers so that by the end of the year most of the children just grab a blank paper for sign in. I also save the papers periodically and put the date on the back of the paper. This shows parents at the end of the year at conferences the work the children have put in.
Wow! How wonderful to watch the progression of skills, You KNOW the parents will treasure that writing for years to come.
I would love to see the updated calendar to a black board 🙂
Any ideas for the classroom helpers?! Thanks in advance! 🙂
I think the ideas could come from your very own students! They know best what they love to do to help! Then they could illustrate their own cards. What do you think?
Hi! I will start teaching 3 year-olds next school year and I have decided to implement Reggio Emilia in my room. I loved the idea about having the kids make the calendar… but since I will be working with toddlers, do you have any suggestions on how to adapt this activity to their age?
I thought about making the calendar as a big chalkboard in which the calendar helper can draw a picture each day. The chalkboard would have the days and numbers pre-written for them.