Posts Tagged ‘No Office Day’

No Office Day Fall 2011

Posted: September 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Back in August a number of administrators on Twitter threw around the idea of a National/International No Office Day for administrators, this past week that idea became a reality.  The first International No Office Day was held this past week and over 40 principals from across the globe closed their offices to head back into the classroom.  My day went something like this….

 8:30-10:30AM – AP World History

My head principal (@gtfields) and I started by teaching two periods (55 min each) of AP World History.  Our goal was to facilitate a discussion on the similarities and differences between Christianity and Buddhism.  In addition to teaching I also wanted to model some edtech for the teachers and students.  So we started our lesson by asking students to get out their cell phones and text us.  You can imagine the looks on the kids’ faces!  I loaded a Wiffiti page (http://wiffiti.com/)on the smart board and asked students to partner up and discuss ideas/key beliefs of Christianity and Buddhism.  Next they texted in what they thought were the most important ideas and it appeared on the big screen for all the kids to see.  This kicked off our discussion of religion and early civilizations. 

Next we handed out netbooks to each pair of students and explained that we would be collaborating together in real-time on a document comparing and contrasting Christianity and Buddhism.  We loaded a table from Google Docs on the screen and kids began working with their team to fill in assigned areas.  Teams were assigned topics like “The Expansion of Christianity” or “Key Teachings of Buddhism” and then used their notes and text (they had read the material for homework) to fill out the Google Doc.  Within 30 minutes the class had created a document that would be the basis for our discussion and upcoming activities like developing a thesis statement.

What amazed me about returning to the classroom (as a teacher) was the amount of tech skill that many of our students possess.  We really didn’t have to explain anything about Wiffiti or Goggle Docs, the kids just ran with it and began to use it as instructed.  Cyber safety is always thrown around as a reason for not allowing new techniques and tools in the classroom, but I found these kids willing and ready to integrate tech into their daily classroom interactions.  For example, when they texted main ideas to us on Wiffiti none of them used the “text speak” that so many English teachers fear.  We were amazed at the level of maturity and discipline displayed by these high school students.  All in all it was a great lesson and students asked us if we would come back and teach again!

WiffitiNetbooks & Google Docs

 10:30-11:30AM – Algebra

I spent the next hour in two freshmen algebra classes.  I mainly hung out in these classes and tried to participate in the discussion when I could, I find math very intimidating (I barely passed with a D in HS Math).  In one class students were reviewing for a test by working through problems on the smart board with some class discussion about the steps and solutions to the problems.  The students seemed very engaged with many competing and begging to work out problems on the smart board. 

The next algebra class was at the same spot in their unit but their teacher took a different tack showing students how to Use Edmondo and using review activities on her Edmodo site.  She even allowed students to get out their cellphones and participate during her lesson. 

12:00-1:00pm – World Civ

After a quick break for lunch I headed down to my old classroom now occupied by my good friend Kim Graham.  She had designed a great lesson on early exploration/the spice trade, something I was familiar with as a former social studies teacher.  So we team-taught and each of us were able to add to the lesson by chiming in from our different perspectives.  The lesson led into a great children’s book called Encounter (look it up) that tells the story of Columbus’s arrival from the viewpoint of the natives.   Thus it was an action packed hour and students seemed to really enjoy the material.

1:00-2:00pm – Biology

Next I headed down to one of our science labs where students were using microscopes to examine human tissue.  I traveled around the room working with different teams and taking pictures through the microscope with my Ipad.  The kids were really jealous of my ipad pictures as they had to draw their observations by hand on a piece of paper.  This would have been the perfect situation for using cellphones in the classroom! 

Human Tissue under Microscope via Ipad 2

2:00-3:00pm – English I

My final stop for No Office Day was Ms. Noffsinger’s freshmen English class.  Kids had been reading the novel Pigman and were discussing/showing evidence of symbolism from their reading.  Great discussion and the students seemed to really be into the novel. 

 In short, my 1st Official No Office Day was a huge success.  I got the opportunity to leave behind my typical day of discipline referrals, bus issues, parent calls and other paperwork to jump back into my true passion of teaching.  As principals, we have to remember that we started our career as teachers and this is what makes regular No Office Days/Hrs so important.  If we spend most of our time in the office we slowly lose touch with students, teachers, and the struggle of planning engaging classroom instruction.  I’ll never forget something that George Couros (@gcouros) said during the Tech Savvy Principal session at ISTE 2011 – “Our days are for people and our nights are for paperwork.”  Let’s not forget that it’s all about building relationships with students and the people we work with, and you can’t do that sitting behind a desk.

For more information on No Office Day check out our Wikihttp://noofficeday.wikispaces.com/

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