Classroom Spotlight: Positive Language Encouraged with The Word Collector

Rachel Van Hazinga is a STEAM teacher at Deal Elementary School in Deal, NJ.

She shared a bit on how she began using The Word Collector in the classroom and what projects her students have created. Read on to learn more!

“I ordered The Word Collector book as soon as it came out and brought it to my professional learning community. The gym teacher and I struck up a conversation about how it could provoke positive conversation in relation to his lessons around sportsmanship and how he could use language to promote positive conversation and communication in his classes. In my STEAM classes, I was able to link it to the idea of empathy and how we communicate our ideas.

This evolved into a project that included all grade levels and some in both classes. I created a template using a Google drawing that was shared out through Google Classroom for all students. The youngest levels were given printouts because they wanted to color their words. Older students personalized their words with size, color, and font choice. Finally, a group of students arranged the cutout words onto a double bulletin board in a way to reflect the words blowing about in Jerome's world.

Students could be seen looking for their words as the walked by in the hallways. Students also mentioned to others that so many of the words were the same as others words. The school had chosen words they thought were important to them, which reflected themselves and their values.”