1 Wish…#OKLAED

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A few weeks back, a story came across my newsfeed about Parkway School Disrict’s way of greeting students who came to collect their schedules for the current school year.  Using an old-fashioned chalk board and some sidewalk chalk, they had students and staff finish the statement “My Hope…” As they entered campus (see the video here – seriously, it’s super cool!). 

It moved me.  I think it was the combination of something so simply done with such a powerful step towards building rapport right from the get go.  A quiet, yet glaring, “we CARE” type of thing.  And I wanted to duplicate that for my own students.

Fast-forward to Day 1 with my students.  I did my usual #TLAP Playdough-and-PIRATE intro, but this time I added a Post-It and marker to every desk next to the container of Playdough.  Kids were certainly intrigued by the strange arrangement and my added, “No syllabus today” probably helped perk that interest a bit more.

After giving my introductions and warming them up with a goofy Question of the Day about an outrageous scenario involving money, the toilet, and lunch ladies; I asked them to write on their Post-It 1 Wish for 2017.  My only parameter was that it be honest and pertaining to the timeframe between that day and the end of May.  No names on the Post-Its, just their wish – here’s a pic of our finished board:


As you can see, many of them wrote academic goals, which are good…but those become a better person/friend/family member ones?  Chills, right?!?

Turned out to be a great activity & for days, the kids would spend that last minute or two of passing before classes start reading each other’s responses.  Even cooler, right?  But it still didn’t feel complete.  I wanted the kids to feel like they were WELCOMED – you know, wanted as individual students with all their quirks and stuff.  

So, I tossed the idea out there to do a version of this with the staff & my boss approved.

Tomorrow, my school district is having “Choose Your Own Adventure”. The idea is kinds of a pseudo-EdCamp where staff members can choose professional development sessions from a variety of choices offered/requested by fellow staff members.  We’ll be kicking off with the entire district’s collection of certified staff members filling the stands of my campus’ Field House – a perfect opportunity!

Guess what I was doing before I left campus today?  Yep, I coerced a coworker to help me slap up a place, right at the entrance, for staff to write a wish for our students this year.


Not the most fancy of products, but I’m pretty excited to see what staff members write (and a bit anxious that they don’t just walk right by it).

Now, the #OKLAED challenge (thanks @MrJoshFlores for the idea):  click here to add your “1 Wish” for your students of 2017. My hope is to cull a great list of things for us to look back at when we need a reminder of what really matters – the KIDS!

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