Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Good news…you don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day, nearly two months away, to share with your class a rainbow that leads (as legend has it) to a pot o’ gold.
Follow the steps below in today’s attentionology trick to create a Rainbow of Learning that connects kids to a wealth of motivation for paying attention and learning well in your classroom.
An important bit of background first…
…I got the idea for a Rainbow of Learning as I was studying the poster in
my blog pic here.
Posted in the Teachers’ Lounge in one of the schools where I recently taught, this graphic offers a Framework for 21st Century Learning.
Sections of the framework include in red: Life and Career Skills; in yellow: Learning and Innovation Skills; in blue: Information, Media and Technology Skills; in green: Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes: in white bands: Standards and Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Development and Learning Environments.
As much as this poster serves to remind teachers about important components of education in a fast-changing global community, I started thinking about how a “spin-off poster” could serve students.
I imagined substitutions for the categories in the framework so I made changes in the poster’s structure and language that turn the teacher’s Framework for 21st Century Learning into a child’s Rainbow for 21st Century Learning.
Follow ten easy steps to make an eye-catching bulletin board with this powerful theme.
1. Find or make a large paper rainbow, like you see in my blog pic here
that shows a poem I wrote about a championship ice hockey game in 2006, signed by two of the players. The poem begins with the lines, No color of the rainbow/is as bold as the red/ swirling on the shirts (of the the winning team).
2. Post your paper rainbow in the center of your bulletin board with the heading above it: RAINBOW FOR 21st CENTURY LEARNING
3. In the rainbow’s red section, write or post in dark letters the words:
KNOWING THAT SCHOOL IS COOL
4. In the orange section put: ABILITY TO FOCUS & STAY ON TASK
5. In the yellow section with space between each subject, write or post the words: READING WRITING MATH
6. In the green section put other subjects: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SKILLS WORLD AWARENESS – SOCIAL STUDIES
7. In the blue section put the subjects: THE ARTS CREATIVE THINKING HEALTH & FITNESS
8. In the purple section center the word: PARTNERSHIP and below it put the words: TEACHERS STUDENTS FAMILIES
9. Introduce your students to the Rainbow of Learning bulletin board and ask them to write their names on cards you distribute. Write your name on a card.
10. Explain in language appropriate to your grade level that partnerships need everyone’s participation. Help your students, one by one, post her/his name card on the bulletin board, all around the rainbow of learning. Post your name card. Ask the class to join you in a round of applause when all names are posted; that’s cause for celebration!
Children and people of all ages in every corner of the world love rainbows.
I once witnessed a rainbow that stretched clear across ocean, sound and land. It arched with brilliant colors from the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean over the barrier reef island where I was standing on a deck, all the way across the sound on the other side of the island, and finally to the coast. Magnificent!
Online research substantiates the popularity of rainbows, actual ones, and rainbows as colorful, versatile symbols.
Regarding actual rainbows, I found science videos about how rainbows are formed, and songs about rainbows. I found free rainbow graphics that teachers can access online (and in craft stores) to use in making your Rainbow of Learning bulletin board, for St. Patrick’s Day and other occasions.
As symbols, rainbows are often associated with hope. Online I found organizations and programs with the word rainbow in their names that help disadvantaged children and offer a range of hope-inspiring grief support. The word rainbow is part of the name of foundations that remember special people; galas to raise funds for children with illnesses and Rainbow Bridge – a popular program that helps children cope with the loss of a pet or other loved ones.
My idea for a Rainbow of Learning bulletin board has nothing to do with grief though; it’s a happy image that communicates:
- joy in learning
- the importance of being able to stay focused and on task
- what children need to learn
- the connection between learning now and life later, as a “grown up”
Rainbows can also serve in other ways as attention-getting reminders for kids. You may have read my 05/16/11 post that features Harry the Homework
Ape, shown in my blog pic here.
In that post Harry holds a heart and folded papers because he loves homework!
Check it out and you’ll see that he sits near the classroom door ready to accept homework at the beginning of a school day.
Like all good attentionology tools, Harry is adaptable for other uses.
As you can see in today’s post, Harry is now “sporting” a rainbow tie. Why? I tell kids that Harry also loves the Rainbow of Learning; that’s why.
I elaborate on this theme, saying, “Harry knows that ALL subjects are important, but none more so than loving to learn and knowing how to pay attention when it’s important to do so.”
Your rainbow-decorated stuffed toy doesn’t have to look like Harry. Any animal with a rainbow decoration of some sort will work as long as you present it to your class with clarity, confidence and good spirit.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet