Teaching Diversity All Year

At the beginning of each school year, I have the students create their own personal banner. We do this on the first day of school. Instead of going over more rules with my students on the first day (because they hear the same ones from every teacher in the middle school), I do a fun activity with them to break up the sitting and listening. I call each student to an area in my classroom and take each student's picture. This works great, especially in middle school, because they all come dressed to impress on the first day in their new clothes and new hair-dos. While I am calling each student for their "own personal photo shoot," the other students are designing their banners. One one side of the banner, the students design the banner with his/her name, photo (to be added the next day), and any creative designs and colors they choose. On the other side of the banner, the students list their goals for the school year and list the ways they are going to accomplish those goals. 

The following day, I bring their printed photos and they glue them to their banners. I laminate the banners so they will last all year, and so they will be as good as new when the students take them home at the end of the year. They absolutely love this!

Next comes the task of hanging and displaying these banners. I use fishing line and paper clips, and they work wonderfully. Depending on the number of students I have, I divide the banners equally so that they balance out the classroom. Anyone who witnesses me hang these banners knows that it is an act of love for my students!

There are a several of reasons why I chose to do this activity with my students year after year (although there have been years that I swore I was never doing it again because of the workout my arms get from hanging them).
  1. They provide my classroom with a wonderful display of my students' faces smiling at me and greeting me every morning when I walk into my classroom.
  2. The banners are a daily reminder of the goals each student made for the academic year, and it keeps them on track when I simply point to the ceiling.
  3. The banners teach diversity, individualism, and tolerance. All of my students are unique individuals, and for at least one time during the year, they are able to be themselves on paper. They are not worried about what others think; they are simply letting their individuality shine.
  4. Last, but not least, the students enjoy them and love having them in the classroom all year. I have students in lower grades ask me all the time if they are going to get to do the banners, too.

If you would like to use this activity in your own classroom, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I think it will definitely be something that you find enjoyable!

These banners can also be used during the beginning of the second semester when the students come back from break. 


  1. Andrea, welcome to blogging. I love this banner idea. So visual, and at the same time, super cute.

    Looking forward to more posts from you.


  2. That is a terrific idea! I really love how it stays as a constant reminder of their personal goals. *Added to my TpT Wishlist.
    Diary of a Sixth Grade Teacher