Let it Go: Part 2- Student Labeling

If you missed my first tip, check out yesterday's post where I shared how I get my students involved in our rule creation.

Today is actually a time-saver for you (in terms of prep) and let's students gain some ownership of materials and spaces in your classroom. I'm sharing today how to let it go when it comes to...

This is an area I continue to struggle with letting go. There are some things I will label... ok many things... but I am turning over more of the things that students have direct "ownership" of into their hands. Some of it includes bulletin boards like the ones below. However, you will still see lots of labels on other things in my room that I've done... especially with things that I can reuse another year for another group of students.

I shared with you about our rule creation process. I have students write out the rules then on sentence strips now and post up them on the board. I do the same with our library expectations. After we discuss them, students write them out and draw pictures to match the words. This is a space they are directly using, so it makes sense for me.

I have NOT always been this way! One of my teammates began doing this more and I was worried it wouldn't look 'nice.' But it does look nice! It's just a different kind of nice! And it helps balance the room out- I don't want it to be all of me and my computer fonts (although I'm addicted to fonts)... it is not just my space.

This is one I'm slowly turning over. I use to put labels with student names on them on all their notebooks and folders. I did their name plates for their desk. I did their name plates for their hooks. It was actually a lot of work for me. And to be honest, students never really appreciated it.

I've started to have students start labeling their own materials. Sure they don't LOOK as fancy, but I have to be honest- it's not my folder or notebook. It lives in the students' desks. Why should I care? This was more of a control thing than anything else, but I did enjoy saving my own time, plus students took more ownership of their materials as they labeled them.

This year, I am also not putting name plates down before open house. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!? Nope- I'm simply putting their name on a post-it quick and putting it on a desk. 2 reasons:

1) Some students have nick names. I've found that sometimes parents decide that their child will be called by a certain nick name they were given in kindergarten and then they get to 3rd grade and they don't really want to be called that. If a child has a nick name listed on our roster, I put 2 post-its on the desk and let the student decide. Often times, parents didn't realize that their child didn't want to go by the nick name anymore and it gave students the chance to voice it. Other times, the parents rip the given name off the desk faster than you can say, "What's your name?" and go with the nick name. I at least like to give the option.

2) I want students to make their own name tags this year. They can print their name neatly (or I can see who can't and get them some practice) and decorate it a little bit. How many times do kids doodle on the name plates on any little white space they can find? And you know what... I would too! I'm not fighting it anymore. It's a great first morning work job that is low key, yet important that says, "Welcome to your space.... make it yours."

I have one more tip on how to let go of some control in your classroom that will give your students more ownership and benefit you in the long run! See you tomorrow!


1 comment

  1. I love the idea of letting students label their own things! Not only is it too time consuming to label all those notebooks and folders, it is also usually a waste of ink when the label inevitably peels off (intentionally or otherwise). Plus, if a new student comes along, there's no rush to make new labels. Thanks for the great post!


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