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:
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.
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!