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!
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.