I thought I was saving the signed poster as I cleaned the fragments from the floor. Instead, I found a new resource for my classroom: the frame.
Still intact, it brought me back to something I read in Kathryn Bomer's Hidden Gems: Naming and Teaching from the Brillance in Every Child's Writing:
If we have to literally put a frame around a piece of writing to get kids to see their work as art then that is what we must do.My teaching of writing has shifted in recent years--I no longer write on student writing. Using post-its and face-to-face conferring, I am trying to elevate their perception of themselves in their own eyes. This includes their writing...this especially includes their writing.
While I use a large bulletin in a main hallway to display student writing, and while I hang a variety of pieces throughout the classroom, I have not yet used a frame to isolate a piece of writing.
What an experiment thus far.
Placing the frame directly over a portion of the class white board, I place a new piece of student writing inside each day. It has created a buzz...whose piece will show up next? Students gather around the bulletin boards and they scan the many one-pagers/book reviews posted around the room, but the energy and smile the simple frame has generated has been quite a happy accident.
I stress context when I grading these quizzes--remember this is a vocabulary assessment so take the time as a writer to demonstrate that you understand the word. We practice this together as a large class and in small groups. Over the course of the year, they are getting better at writing with context and I believe they are truly learning some words well--some words are truly becoming embedded in their written vocabulary. I am seeing more of our vocabulary of study showing up in more of their work.
I hadn't displayed exemplary pieces of these quizzes in class--I have placed them on an overhead/Elmo/Promethean board and talked through what makes it strong writing, but I hadn't displayed it. I hadn't set a frame around a test or a quiz.
By using the simple frame I see the evidence that more students are seeing what they do as a piece of art...which is just another way of saying important...valued...special.
Or elevating them in their own eyes.