Every year you get a new brood of fresh little faces that
are not only eager to learn, but are eager to get to know one another. This can
be a scary and sometimes stressful situation socially for some of your shy
students. If you really want to get your students to know each other better,
consider utilizing a student of the week board. Here is how you can arrange and
manage the board effectively and incorporate other fun, filler activities into
your school day that will make each student feel special, build their
confidence, and make them feel like they are a part of your classroom family.
First, select a bulletin board in your room that is large
and easy to be seen by all. Cover it with bright and sunny paper. If you do not
have many available bulletin boards, you can easily build one anywhere you
please. Simply cut a large sheet of paper from a colored roll and use putty
tape or sticky clips to hang your paper. Repeat with a colorful and inviting
border around the perimeter of the paper.
Next, select an “All About Me” themed bulletin board set (or
create your own using sentence strips) that include phrases such as, “My
Favorite Color,” “What I Want to be When I Grow Up,” “My Favorite Thing to Do,”
and “My Favorite Food” (etc.). Some sets are even sold with headings that say,
“My Family,” “My House,” and “My Pet” so that students can bring in pictures to
place under each category. It’s also fun to encourage students to bring in baby
pictures to hang on their board.
Once your board is arranged, place each student’s name in a
sealed container (can be a slip of paper or Popsicle sticks). Each week, pull
one name from the container and give three clues as to which student was
selected. For example, you can say, “This student loves to eat peanut butter
crackers at snack, has blonde hair, and is great at drawing.” Allow students to
guess the student of the week. Once you reveal their name, give them a paper to
take home that informs their family that they have been selected to create
their own bulletin board for the week and to send in pictures that they wish to
When the student of the week brings in their pictures, take
5-10 minutes out of your busy day to chat with the child and interview them so
you have answers to each prompt on the bulletin board. You can record their
responses on an index card or sentence strip (which you can laminate and use
again and again). Arrange and assemble the board with the student to their
liking. They will love doing this with you!
Finally, when the board is set up, allow the student to
present it to their classmates. This may pose a challenge to students who are
shy and quiet. Feel free to read the prompt for the student and allow them to
answer it. They can also point out and explain the photographs that they have
hung on their board.
Post-presentation, give each student a slip of paper and
invite them to write a kind word about the student of the week. Kind words can
be things like, “I think you are a very nice friend.” “I think you sing well in
music class.” “You are very good at your multiplication facts.” This will
alleviate the anxiety the students may sometimes have putting themselves in
front of their classmates and will instantly build their confidence. Clip each
kind word together to make a mini-book and give it to the student to keep,
read, and treasure!
Including a student of the week board in your classroom is a
wise choice. It not only builds a rapport between you and your students, but
makes each child feel special and helps them get to know one another easily.