How does one school deliver Innovation overnight? Well, at Innovation Middle School teachers had the opportunity to learn and deliver a tech tool that they were interested in in two hours. From a recent tech team meeting we went from an idea to providing a worthwhile Professional Development which allowed teachers to develop their knowledge base f 21st century tools. The day began with me modeling a tech tool that looked like it would give instant feedback to students. This tool is called Kahoot. I had the teachers try it out on their devices to get an idea of the capabilities of the tool. I talked for about 4 minutes about how this tool could be used and then handed it over to the teacher was in charge of the PD. The teacher began by having the teachers write down the tools that they were experts in. Teachers wrote these tools down on chart paper but had to list the tips an tricks that went along with using the tool in their classroom. We instantly had 25 experts in the room! The teachers who were familiar with the tools, would now be mentors to others who want to try that new tool. We had Math teachers, ELA teachers, Science teachers and History teachers all working together. In the end, we would have a school-wide database of the best tech tools with the best experts. The follow up will be in one month where the teacher swill give feedback and share projects as to what they learned.
This idea is modeled after Daniel Pink’s book Drive.“Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”
In a similar blog post, there are some point to consider before leading this with teachers. Although we did not consider the points below, it might be helpful if you need to convince anyone that this is a good idea. Below are some point from a blog which outlines some resources before trying this out. Either way, the teachers at Innovation Middle School can deliver innovation in hours!
1. Make certain you understand the basic premise of a FedEx day for staff training by perusing the following web resources:
- Atlassian FedEx Day – Fequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Reflection: The FedEx Project
- Motivating Students to Get Behind the Counter
- Mr. Barnes’ Virtual Language Arts Class
2. In particular, review the following two blog posts, together with the corresponding comments found at the end of each entry:
to focus on how innovative administrators have incorporated and adapted FedEx Days to help their own teachers to:
- learn in an autonomous manner;
- seek mastery through on-going improvement; and
- develop a strong sense of purpose for their actions.
3. Time permitting read “Drive” by Daniel Pink in order to get a more extensive background on ways of motivating educators and students.
4. In preparation for the FedEx PD Day, ask all teachers to spend 15 minutes of their own time to view the following three inspirational Vimeo videos:
- “RSA Animate version of Pink’s ‘Drive’:
The surprising truth about what motivates us” (10:48);
- “Two questions that can change your life” (2:03); and
- “What’s your sentence?” (2:19)
5. To help teachers become actively engaged in the planned FedEx P.D. learning opportunity, request that all staff members arrive at school with their personal “sentence” that exemplifies their life or role as an educator. For example, Dan Pink suggests that his sentence would be “He wrote books that helped people see their world a little more clearly and live their lives a little more fully”. These individual defining sentences will be shared. The risk-takers on staff may choose to attach their own name to their “sentence” while those who guard their privacy may wish to contribute their sentences anonymously.
6. As an administrator, share your personal sentence with your staff. Collect “sentences” from all staff members explaining that these will be shared on-line.
7. At the start of the FedEx inservice, consider “T-sing” your staff with considerations similar to the ones that Lyn shared:
- Task – Choose tasks that benefit and impact student learning. Think differently!!
- Technique – Design your activities and project work in your own way, so long as the end result is a benefit to students.
- Team – Work with anyone you want to work with today – you do not need to work with your grade level teams. Consult with the many knowledgeable people in our school! Individuals that choose not to collaborate will still be responsible for “delivering”. Consider the importance of the collaborative efforts!
- Time – Use your time as you see fit.
8. Rather than schedule this innovative FedEx P.D. day to fit into the traditional 9:00 am – 4:00 pm full day inservice, consider alternative time formats. Some administrators might choose to organize the equivalent full day workshop from noon on one day to noon the following day. Those with the luxury of a longer period of 1.5 days may choose to start at noon on Thursday and run the FedEx project until dismissal time on Friday. May I suggest that if you are running this FedEx activity over two adjacwent days, you might consider ordering in pizza, submarine sandwiches or suggesting “potluck” for those who choose to work at school over the supper hour on the first day. Teachers, who are engaged and collaborating, may not want to stop. Providing a supper, on site, will reap benefits as the collaborative energy and synergy are maintained well into the evening.
9. While educators are working on their projects, administrators should “touch base” to gain feedback regarding the progress of each staff member.
10. Throughout the day, administrators are encouraged to enter, or designate a secretary, to enter staff “sentences” on Wallwisher or on a school web page or blog. I encourage all readers to view the “the sentences” shared by the risk-taking educators at Brecknock Elementary School where Lyn Hilt is principal.
11. Just prior to having educators share their respective FedEx “deliverables”, display your staff’s sentences so that all can be motivated by the shared commitment and passion.
12. Provide a forum to share “deliverables” and determine a time frame for each presentation allowing important time for questions and clarification.
13. Gain feedback form staff with suggestions for improvement.
14. Share your ideas and perceptions through the comments at the end of this blog post so that other administrators, teachers and students might benefit.