Inclusion: A Bird’s Eye View (Part 2 of 3 – The Visual)

Welcome back!!

Now that you’ve gathered information about who everyone in the class would prefer to work with (and for some, who they would prefer not to work with), you can formally organize these reactions visually, to help create an inclusive working environment in your classroom.

Organizing this formally can be time-consuming. You will need to say “no” to something else, in order to say “yes” to this process. Set boundaries in your work environment and keep your “bird’s eye” on the Big Picture.

As you go through this process, remember that although children can be “isolated”, they are not defined by this. They are always children, they are always your students, beautiful and whole and worthy regardless of how others react to them in specific contexts. They are not just “data”, or “numbers”.

[Image: Sociogram which has had student numbers replaced by flower petals and leaves, to represent the unique and beautiful nature of each student]

Okay, are you ready? Block off some quiet time. I like to use large sheets of paper and coloured markers, along with a large ruler.

Here are the four steps:

  1. Cross reference the children’ responses, so that you can see, in this specific context, who mutually chose one another, who mutually rejected one another, and if there were any opposite responses.
  2. Make concentric circles, with the inner circle representing the students who were chosen by others the most number of times, and so on. I suggest making three concentric circles. You will likely have students on the outside of the last circle.
  3. Solid lines indicate mutual choice between students. Dotted lines indicate mutual rejection. Dotted lines with an arrow indicate an opposite choice with the arrow indicating who was chosen.
  4. You may wish to make several copies of this visual, and code the information in different ways in order to see patterns that may impact the choices that students are currently making. For example, I used to colour code according to which school my students were in, prior to arriving to the first day of grade 7.

[Image: Sociogram indicating a legend of what the solid, dotted, and dotted with arrow lines mean, the meaning of placement in each of the concentric circles, the two questions asked for the purposes of this specific sociogram, and numbers 1 to 21 representing each of the students in the classroom]

Consider sketching something like this out, with the information that you gathered from your students, even if you don’t have time to make the entire sociogram. And don’t worry about being neat and perfect. I didn’t! What matters is taking in the content of the information about the students, in a timely manner, so you can build a more inclusive classroom environment.

The third and final post, in which I discuss some of the ways I used this to promote inclusion in my classes, is coming soon.

Thank you for reading!