As my 5th grade students wind up the school year, I begin to worry that they will go to middle school next year and forget everything they learned in our GT classroom. Some of them have been with me for 6 years, so I’m hopeful that a few things will “stick.” Nevertheless, a visual reminder can be helpful. Rather than make them all stick pictures of me on their walls at home, I started this project with last year’s 5th graders. It seemed to make an impact so I decided to repeat it this year.
You can read a little more about the process I used to jump start this year’s manifestos here. Once the students did quite a bit of brainstorming, I let them jump on to Canva to design their manifestos. Things were going merrily along until I noticed that many of them were using famous Pinterest quotes on their documents instead of their own words. There was a bit of groaning when I insisted the manifestos needed to be in their own voice – not someone else’s. I’m still not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I just felt like it would be more meaningful. One of my students was quite satisfied with one her rewrites, “Life’s a llama with a neck full of opportunities.”
Another mistake I made was to let them design to the edges. Last year, the students downloaded their manifestos as images, and we printed them on t-shirts. The quality was not very predictable, though. This year, I went to the dollar store and bought each of my 11 students a frame. When we tried to put some of the manifestos into the frames, though, words got cut off. (That’s why you won’t see 11 in the picture below; I’m still re-printing some.)
For an investment of $11, I got more than my money’s worth when the students framed their manifestos. The students were proud of their work and I got the impression that at least some of them might display those manifestos in a place of honor when it goes home. I also really like having them in the classroom for all of my students to see. (We can’t hang them up because I am in a borrowed room at the moment.)
The next part of the project is for the students to design their “Dream Teams.” They are using the “Find My Role Model” tool from The Academy of Achievement to find 5 people they admire who embody the statements on their manifestos. You can see some ideas for how to publish your Dream Team here,