The BEST Idea I Ever Borrowed     Teaching in Room 6
Click here to access the Circle Map
The BEST idea I ever borrowed from another teacher was this little gem from my friend Risa.  I was looking for something to have my early bird parents do during Back to School Night while they milled around, waiting for everyone to show up.  Risa came to my rescue.

She had the idea of having the parents make a list of all the things that they would like me to know about their child.  I turned it into a Circle Map (and my love of Thinking Map continues...) and set them out on the desks.

What I got back in return was THE MOST REWARDING AND EYEOPENING perspective of the students in my class.  Reading the responses allowed me to see these children for who they are....children.  These kids are the world to someone else.  They mean just as much to another mother as my own children mean to me.  They make someone smile at the drop of a hat, make them cry in the blink of an eye, and make them instantly proud, worried, excited, scared, and loved all at the same time.

What's more, they help me later in the year when I am so completely fed up, on my last nerve, or about ready to lose it realize that this is a child that someone loves.  I am able to take a step back and react in a way that I would want someone to treat *my* child.  Using this simple little activity during Back to School Night has really helped make me a better teacher to my students.


  1. That is a really neat idea! I also love circle maps! I'm a new follower to your blog! :-)

  2. YAY, you've just fed MY love for thinking maps . . . I've downloaded it to share with my faculty and staff! This would make an EXCELLENT Valentine's Day activity!!

    Happy New Year,


  3. This is just awesome! I'm going to have to try this next year. Thanks for the freebie!

  4. I love this idea! I wish we had a Back to School night. We have an Open House but parents come with their kids and they just float in and out of classrooms. But I will hang on to this idea for the future!!

    Thanks for being my 200th follower!!!!!!! You are a special friend now, haha!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

    1. We have Open House as well with both kids and parents. I send the circle maps home with the kids to fill out with their parents help and put a picture of themselves in the middle. When they are returned, they all go into a binder which is then sent home with our student of the week. The kids LOVE reading about one another!

  5. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog!
    I did something similar for parent teacher conferences.. I let them fill out an interest survey about their child! Really great idea...
    Your blog is super, I'm also your newest pinterest follower.. How addicted are you to pinning? Happy New Year!

  6. This is such a great idea! I love it. Some years our grade level holds a meeting together for parents, other years we have parents visit our classrooms individually. But I will save this for an opertune moment. Maybe when they're waiting to see me at Conference time.

    Question: Do you find parents know how to use a circle map? Or do you explain it to them. Also, I noticed on the download that the directions use "she." Do you have a second one for your boy students?

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  7. This seems like a great idea!
    The Idea Backpack

  8. Such a great idea! Thanks!

  9. Great activity! I love that it's also written in Spanish! Thanks!


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