Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Make May your September

That thing that you want to try in your classroom but you haven't told anyone yet.  You should do that.  If it's good for kids.  DO IT NOW.  You want to do it because you know it is best for kids and it is engaging/fun/motivating/etc.  There are at least as many excuses to not do it as there are days left in the school year.  I'll tackle three that I think are most common for this time of year.

Well it's May, I'll just try it next year:

This is a common thought right now, Why?  next year is not going to change whether or not it's good for kids.  What you are saying is 'I know this is good, but I'm not going to do this good thing with the kids that are in front of me.'  Part of the reason we say no to something right now is because our energy is low.  That's real.  We've been going at it since August and when you can see the end it's hard to maintain or increase your energy.  I know that in my classroom I am the pacer.  If I slow down, they will to.  If I am looking around and saying "why aren't they working?" I have no one to blame but myself.  "Well they (students) are just done so..." No, you are just done so your kids stopped when you stopped.  They will match my stride and if I'm not careful or intentional with them at this time of year we will end up like it's a walk in the park rather than a race to the end.  A walk in the park finish is fine if that is what you are planning on.  If you want to finish strong you have to mentally tell yourself to increase your turnover at the end of the race.

Last night on the phone I got to help Cori (who I met through my PLN... yesterday) figure out how to use Google Forms and Sheets to have 150 kids select a certain number session slots that interest to them, email them their chosen schedule, and send attendance rosters to teachers.  She is planning a day for kids to choose what they want to learn about in MAY!  This requires teachers to switch and prepare and as teachers get excited about it so will kids.  Cori is hustler that saw something that was good for kids and went after it. Make May your September.  Cori, you are the inspiration for my writing this morning.  Thank you!

 Kids can be excited about learning in May if you give them the opportunity and model the energy.

We don't really have time to gain traction on it so...

What a great time!  If it fails, guess what the school year ends and you get a fresh start in August.  You don't even have time to deal with the consequences of your failure. Prototype that strategy now so that you can work out the kinks with kids you know and have spent all year building relationships with.  Your next year kids will thank you if you get out the rough draft done and out now rather than making them the rough draft.  If you are going to fail (and you will in some ways) make it with 18 days left

It's not ready yet, it doesn't look the way I want it to:

 6 years ago standing in line for the bathroom at the start of the Boston Marathon there was a guy who was freaking out because his GPS watch was not working.  As he was freaking out this zen looking runner dude with a yoga mat under his arm turns to freak-out-GPS-man and says "analysis leads to paralysis".  I'll never forget this because Zen-runner-guy is right.  If you spend your time analyzing, 'is this right? will it work?' You will never get in the right head space to pull the trigger. There comes a point where momentum is the priority over planning.  Your continuing to plan and tweak may really just be a mask for fear.  Fear is real.  It's a risk.  Own it and lean forward into it. Accept that the first time you try______________ will be the worst and move on because what do you have to lose?  It's May!

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