Top 5 Classroom Shake Ups

When I present, reflect, create, and when I ask students to respond, I typically strive for a Top 5. In no particular order. What are the top 5 items you need to survive (e.g. great for when reading London’s To Build a Fire)? What are your Top 5 takeaways from class this week? What are the Top 5 writing rules that you need to work on, improve, love/hate, etc.? I personally try not to go over 5 presentation slides. Top 5.

So when I read the headline “Five Ways to Shake Things Up at Work,” I got all tingly ( ).

1. Refuse to Accept Fogginess

2. Model Clarity

3. Do it Anyway. Stop listening to “No.”

4. Think Epic. Be Epic.

5. Disrupt yourself.

And then after reading the descriptions under each of these five, I thought, well, why can’t this apply to the classroom.

1. If you don’t know what you’re intentions are, how will your students know?

2. Model, Show, Do – don’t just stand and preach. What’s the one biggest takeaway you want your students to know by the end of class, or the week? How can what you’re doing in class be connected personally? And I’m not talking touchy-feely-emo here. I’m talking application – how can the students apply this to outside of the four-wall classroom. What is the one thing you want your students to do with the information?

3. Just do it. God bless administrators for doing certain things that I personally don’t want to deal with, but when I want to spice things up in class and try something hugely new (i.e. 20 Time aka Genius Hour), and I bring it to the board, and have to give a hoopla presentation and be questioned about it, which takes way too much time for me to create the presentation, schedule the presentation, do the presentation, and sit through deliberations of whether or not it could work, I think to myself that I should have just done it. I’d rather try than not and see if it works than not. I’d rather fail the first time and succeed just a little bit more the next than never having attempted it at all (

As the description says “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission. It’s time to live this to the max.”

4. Do big. Try it. Worst thing that could happen is that it doesn’t work the first time. So you change it up and try again.

5. Usually, when you’re in the groove, in the flow (read Csikszentmihalyi if you haven’t already on Creativity and his other book Flow), your stream of consciousness can take you to great things. But sometimes we get so caught up in the frenzy of something, we have to force ourselves to stop and reflect. Disrupt ourselves to take ourselves out of the box and examine our work. Students should be led to do that until they can do it themselves. Walk away from something. Let the process itself process within yourself. “Don’t think about it and it’ll come to you,” is something I tell students when they’re blocked or frustrated. They hate it when I say that because I’m not giving them an answer. Their ah-ha moment will come, and so will yours.

Shake it up!


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