Many different publishing companies have come to us wanting to create premade posters, CAFE headers, and strategy cards for Daily 5 and CAFE. In addition, many individuals are selling their own creative and cutesy versions on various websites. Here is what we want you to know: we have never given our permission to do this, and we never will. Here's why:
- Preprinted materials are usually visual noise. But when we create the items that go up in our rooms with the assistance of our students, they become visual aids to support student learning.
- Premade items take away the powerful learning potential that comes when children's own voices, thinking, and handwriting drive the posted information. When we create the charts and strategy cards in front of or with the students, they become an anchor for student learning.
- If we succumb to the notion that a classroom is beautiful only if everything in it matches our
classroom theme (be it teddy bears, frogs, or polka dots), it sends a strong message that it is our classroom and we are the most important person there. That isn't the message we want to send to students. We are only one member of the classroom, and we want the majority of the things in our rooms to represent the majority of people who reside there, our students.
- We are in the business of children. There is nothing more beautiful than visual representations of their thinking and work that they wrote and illustrated themselves.
- Finally, we want to do the right thing, setting an example for students and others by not purchasing original materials that are protected under trademark and copyright laws.
Remember, the most powerful thing we can do for student learning and a beautiful, child-centered classroom is to create Daily 5 and CAFE materials with our students.