I was visiting a classroom where the teacher used a variety of symbolic elements in her classroom. Her class always had a name, t-shirts (she found a business partner to cover the costs), and a logo. The class even had a mission statement signed by all students, parents, and the principal to represent their commitment and support. However, the inclusion teacher was not asked to sign. One day, when she came in the room, a student said, “She’s not really one of us; if she was, her name would be on the poster.” The teacher quickly remedied the situation and explained that, once again, she learned from her students. There are really two lessons in that example. First, be sure to include everyone; but second, symbolic elements help build and reinforce your community.
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