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    Circle Map success on Back to School Night
    By Risa

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    At our Back to School Night, I had the parents make Circle Maps with digital pics of their children in the middle.

    My directions were simple: "Writing inside of the circle, use words or phrases to tell me about your child."

    I was sooooo touched by some of their comments! One of them said about their child, “She is my happiness!" and another said, "He is my world!" Of course, there were a lot of other wonderful insightful comments made, but those two reminded me that we aren't just working with ‘students’ in our classes. We have someone's "world" or someone's "happiness" in our rooms... It was wonderful to be reminded in this way!

    I guess the reason these comments were so touching to me is that, this year, I have a lot of talkative students that seem to be very needy. About 1/2 of my 32 are on ‘Watch and Consult’ (struggling with academics and/or behavior) or in RSP. They are taking up quite bit of energy and patience from me each day.

    While I acknowledge that I SHOULD have ALREADY known better, reading the parents' comments served to 'slap me upside the head' into remembering that these children are not just 'machines' to be oiled, adjusted and filled up with more information so we can get higher test scores.

    Thanks to my friend's great idea (and the heart-felt parent comments) I'm going back to work, tomorrow, with a re-adjusted attitude as I work with all those wonderful little treasures!!

    For those who aren't trained to use Thinking Maps, you can do the same activity with whichever graphic organizer you would use for brainstorming ideas in a pre-writing activity.

    View the original thread this idea was posted on

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