JAN'S STORY - PROFILE PAGES
On the first day of the Inspired Teaching Institute, I walked into a big, sparsely decorated gym with no chairs or desks, no projector screen, and a group of total strangers. Like many students on the first day of school, I was outside of my comfort zone.
Soon I learned that Inspired Teaching engages teachers the way we engage our students. Every activity can transfer to the classroom. Immediately upon completing Profile Pages, I decided that my classroom would not be complete without it.
On the first day of school, I snap a photo of each student. I develop the photos overnight and we engage in the activity the next day. After I hang up their pages, I have each class do a gallery walk and find students who have specific things in common with them. My students may think I’m absolutely crazy when I take their photos without explanation – but then they love the assignment.
As an introvert, amongst many extroverts, Profile Pages gave me a safe way to express myself, learn about others, and have instant conversation starters. It’s the same for my students. They get a chance to talk, be creative, and learn from each other.
I work at an enormous school, and my 120 students don’t all know each other. The Profile Pages help out tremendously. Students walk around looking at pictures from other classes, and reading their work often leads to new friendships.
Profile Pages helps me, too. With this activity, I can memorize all 120 names by the end of the second day of school. I also learn so much about my students and their personalities. It opens up easy conversations while I circulate the room. Throughout the year, I sometimes have the students group themselves based on their answers. The pages go up on the second day of school and they only come down during testing season.
My administration adores Profile Pages. They push hard for us to build relationships with the kids and establish a community of learners. This is my second year doing Profile Pages and each year, I have had several administrators observe me. Afterwards, they all comment about the community that is already developing in my classroom. During back-to-school night and parent-teacher conferences, the parents love reading their child’s profiles and the profiles of their child’s friends.
Profile Pages will always be a part of my practice.