Welcome, friends! Thanks for stopping by Miss Kaczmarek's Classroom and checking out our newest #D100BloggerPD series on Hacking the Common Core.
If you're just tuning in now, don't forget to stop by and spend some virtual time with my colleagues Kirstin Richey and Jenny Lehotsky as they covered Hacks 1 & 2 earlier this week.
Before we dive in, I want to make sure you're familiar with the #HackingSeries by Michael Fisher. He has written many books that allow teachers to tackle tricky obstacles in the teaching profession. Each text is eye-opening, reflective, and inspiring to better your role as an educator. If you're intrigued to hack more, check out the other Hacking series books here:
Hacking the Common Core: 10 Strategies for Amazing Learning in a Standardized World
Make Writing: 5 Teaching Strategies That Turn Writer's Workshop Into a Maker Space
Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School (Previous #D100Blogger PD - you can get started here).
Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School
Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love
Hacking Literacy: 5 Ways to Turn Any Classroom Into A Culture of Readers
It's Monday, 5 a.m. and your alarm is shrieking with excitement for this new day. Are you? What are your thoughts? *Yawn* A brand new week, full of potential. Full of risk-tasking. Full of successes, and maybe even failures. But before any of that can take place, my first thought? COFFEE.
The problem I face every Monday morning is not that I won't be able to make it through another week as a first grade teacher. The problem is that there is too much to cover in Common Core standards and expectations for my students - I think: how can I possibly set them up for success in all that we need to cover?
Exactly why I think I am a perfect match to be paired with Hack #3: Friday Every Day.
The Hack: Bringing the Delightfulness of Friday to Everyday.
So what's so different about Monday compared to Friday? I know that most people in the workforce are looking forward to the end of the work week. Social media graphics and posts serve as key evidence.
I agree; coffee DOES taste better on Fridays. Nonetheless, I surveyed 15 teachers inside and outside of D100 with anticipation that all general education teachers were on the same playing field on what Friday means in their book. I first asked these teachers if they were generally happier on Friday morning than any other morning of the week. Of those surveyed, 14/15 teachers answered, "Yes."
Can we come to a common consensus that more happiness is emulated at the end of the week? HELLO, WEEKEND!
My follow-up question was as follows: How is your attitude different on a Friday morning in comparison to a Monday morning? Answers included: feeling excited, energized, relieved, and more relaxed that the weekend is approaching; positive, carefree Fridays; work, work, work mentality on Monday to accomplish as much as possible; more fun with students on Fridays.
It seems if we work hard at the beginning of the week, we can play harder towards the end.
In my final question I was curious to see the differences in instruction at the end of the week compared to the beginning. I learned that on Fridays there is more project-based learning, craftivities/snacktivities, free-choice, game-based learning, STEAM, Genius Hour, etc.
I am right along with these fellow educators. I love saving my fun, active, game/craft-based learning towards the end of the week. But my question for everybody reading: why do we save these activities until Friday? Why not integrate them into all the days of our week to create more engaging, student-led experiences for our students?
Bring the happiness associated with Friday to every day of the week.
Take a look at Fisher's list of tips and tricks to be successful with this goal:
1. Find the mental velcro - experiences that will stick - by incorporating the fun, awesome experiences into your curriculum more often than just Friday.
2. Make some critical cuts. A colleague of Fisher's states: "We must be loyal to learning and defenders of innovation." Fisher follows up by expressing that teaching someone else's "plan" (curriculum lessons) and going by the book will not allow for this.
3. Relieve your students' anxiety. YOUR STUDENTS ARE NOT A STANDARD OR NUMBER.
4. Worry more about the how and the why, rather than the what. Shift your mindset for more discovery and exploration to occur (STEAM activities, design thinking, etc) and less about the standards. Great resource here.
5. Think about the information your formative assessments provide. Just as every child learns differently, students can master work in different ways. Give students opportunity to execute creative ways to show they are mastering the content. Present opportunities for project-based assessment on the student's individual choosing.
Yes, tomorrow IS Friday, but I challenge you to bring Friday to your Monday-Thursday. Together, let's change our perspectives about early on in the week. Let's change our plans to implement enriching experiences for our students throughout the entire week. Let's have FUN on Monday, Tuesday, or even Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday. And next time you wake up on Monday with an overflowing to-do list of standards, objectives, and assessments, take a step back, re-arrange our mindset, and hack those standards by making every day feel like FRI-YAY.
Don't miss out on our next #D100Blogger PD superstar Lauren Slanker as she tackles Hack #4: Morecabulary. Check out our complete list of bloggers and hackers here:
And if you're still wanting more, join us at our #D100BloggerPD chat on Tuesday, October 18.