Friday, January 21, 2011

Purple Cow Standards Board of the Month

When you walk into our building, it's clear that we have a strong academic focus. Almost everywhere you look you see celebrations of student achievement, and unlike the holiday themed bulletin boards of yesteryear, our bulletin boards display student work samples with teacher commentary. Classroom instruction becomes transparent because of this visibility of student performance in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Our only regret is that we've had no way of cataloging and keeping the boards for future reference, until now.

With nearly 50 bulletin boards at CCE, there is no feasible way to digitally warehouse all of them, so we've started by capturing two a month, one primary and one intermediate. After the new boards go up, teachers submit Purple Cow nominations for their colleagues' boards. A team gets together to read all nominated boards and selects one intermediate and one primary board that stands out above all the rest. The competition is steep because the boards are so creative and well done, but usually the Purple Cow is chosen because it presents a new idea that others may want to implement in their classroom or does an exceptional job capturing a moment of time in their classroom.

It's unlikely that every teacher will have the opportunity to read every board each month, but with the Purple Cow highlighted, we are hoping that every teacher will at least read the two Purple Cow Boards that can't be missed. So far, the idea has caught on and one teacher even teases that she's wearing her Purple Cow ribbon in her hair!

I'd love for you to visit our Standards Based Bulletin Board blog created and maintained by our Tech Coach, Melanie Holtsman, to read our highlighted boards. You'll see the start of what we hope will become a long tradition. Make sure you click on pictures to enlarge and print the items. I'd love to hear your comments. Stay tuned for more...


Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

These are truly outstanding bulletin boards! It is amazing to the thought and creativity that is displayed on these boards. They are windows into the classroom and a source of pride for the teachers and students. MM

Amanda said...

I love this idea! This is definitely something that I would love to implement in my own classroom. How do your teachers choose samples to display? Do they look for exemplary samples or progress? Is there a general rule of thumb for how many pieces they choose to display?

Suzanne said...

Standards based bulletin boards are an excellent learning tool for students, parents, and colleagues. I always learn something new myself when I am doing them, too.

Teachers select student samples that are good examples of what it going on in the classroom. There is no formula for picking the work. Sometimes they pick work that meets a particular standard, sometimes they pick a student that has made great progress, and sometimes they pick a student who is achieving above standard. It just depends. However, if the teacher picks a piece that isn't at standard, we are sure to word it with sensitivity. We might say that the sample is working toward mastery.

Usually, we have about four student samples on the board with teacher commentary, but that is just a rule of thumb.

To visit more boards, you can search on one of our 1st grade teacher's blogs
dayle has many boards that she's written about over the years.

Hope this helps! Feel free to keep checking back on Purple Cow blog to see our new additions.