- Sponsorship -

Teacher Map Leads to Geyser of Gratitude

Much to her surprise, Dutton Elementary School teacher Heidi Kruizenga became the noun in the center of a gigantic bubble map, so her kindergartners could surround her with enough positive words to make her burst with happiness.

Principal Shawn Veitch, who popped in unannounced, challenged students to show their Thinking Map knowledge by naming lots of ways to describe their teachers. Teachers are training in Thinking Maps, which Dutton is using in instruction school-wide.

Kindergartner Visser uses his thinking cap while coming up with words to describe his teacher
Kindergartner Visser uses his thinking cap while coming up with words to describe his teacher

“She always makes us laugh,” said one student as Veitch wrote “funny” on the whiteboard. “Nice,” “Pretty,” “Loving,” “Caring,” “Helpful,” were others. Students also explained their thinking under each adjective: “She wants us to be a good reader,” they added under “Caring.”

Veitch said he wanted to do something fun with the new organizational tool so the school’s 14 teachers could hear how much their students care about them. “Our teachers are so amazing. They love the kids so much,” he said. “They get into that daily grind, and I wanted them to hear what the kids really think of them.”

Dutton teachers are using Thinking Maps — including Circle, Bubble, Double-Bubble, Tree and Flow maps — to guide students, beginning in kindergarten, to organize their thoughts in a systemic way, which enhances problem solving and critical thinking skills, she said. The eight map styles go with the eight processes of thinking, which help students sort details, use descriptions and understand sequencing.

Veitch took a photo of each teacher inside their map to frame as a gift.

“It was very heart-warming,” said a flattered Kruizenga. “It’s really special to hear how their brains are working and the ideas they are connecting, even when applying it to an impromptu activity.”

“Happy,” indeed, shows Dutton Elementary School teacher Heidi Kruizenga

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Teacher and coach applies lessons in classroom and on field

New Kelloggsville head football coach Brandon Branch also teaches science and math at the high school and looks to bring academics and athletics together whenever he can...

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

High school closes due to positive COVID-19 cases

Caledonia High School is closed for in-person instruction through Friday, Sept. 11, after five students and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19...

Students have choice of face-to-face, online learning

Teachers are being trained in using the Michigan Virtual platform for online instruction...

‘Farm to School’

Caledonia Schools passed out more than 1,300 boxes of produce to community members through the Farm to School Program...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU