Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Episode 105: The First Week of School

First week of school 

In this episode, Theresa and Spike sit down to discuss the first week of school and reflect on their openings. Beth Theresa and Spike discussed how they were in the "cycle of sacrifice" due to the high levels of stress in opening up school for the year. Are you in the cycle of sacrifice? Here are some characteristics:

  • Lack of quality sleep (having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • Growing "to do" list 
  • Difficulties focusing 
  • Not eating quality food or eating too much/too little
What can you do to battle the cycle of sacrifice? First step is awareness. Realizing you are in it and knowing that it will not last forever. Theresa and Spike discuss ways that they are getting through. Each knows that this will balance out very soon.

Spike discussed the First Three Days project he did with his school. This was an idea that was inspired by the Significant 72 by Greg Wolcott. The Lakeside staff and students spent a significant amount of time building relationships with each other as well as reviewing the expectations of the school. Spike plans to blog about this initiative and also will discuss upcoming ideas for follow up. 

Theresa shared ideas to make the weekly communication more collaborative. Her administrative team writes their information on a shared Google Document which is generated from a weekly reminder email from Theresa through Boomerang. She also uses Boomerang to manage her email inbox by using the tools such as pausing, scheduling and having emails re-delivered for emphasis and reminders. Boomerang can be used for Gmail and Microsoft Office. Be sure to check it out! 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Episode 104: Back to School Part 2

In this episode, Spike and Jessica talked about their school plans for the first days of school. Spike talked about the Significant 72 and Jessica talked about Playworks. 

Spike and his staff took the Significant 72 and used it as an outline for the first 3 days. They made a Google Slides presentation for all staff to use period by period. Within the presentation are "get to know you" activities as well as instructions to cover all expectations. The Significant 72 places emphasis on students knowing teachers, teachers knowing students, students knowing students. Spike and his staff added students knowing the school. Spike will report out on this on the next podcast.

Jessica reviewed the new Playworks initiative at her school to enhance recess and add play into the classroom. She said it was fun and at times exhausting to participate in the training because the staff had to actually play the games. She and her staff learned variations on traditional games such as soccer, kickball, four square and others to eliminate student incidents/disagreements that typically occur and spill over into taking up classroom time. Since all of the traditional games focus on a winner, the variations take it to the next level and focus on engagement and participation. Jess will report out on the progress on the next podcast.

We also learned some differences in weather preparedness between our two states...do you have drills that your school has to practice due to the specific weather of your area?