It’s May. Which means that I have been frantically locating graduation cards and gifts for my handful of seniors, and that I have such a bad post-testing burnout that I am actually putting more energy into plans for next year than in finishing out this one. It also means that I am spending most of my prep hour watching TED talks on education. One of my favorites so far:
What really stood out to be about this was “the default answer is yes.” I thought about how this would apply in my classroom. My first thought was that my students would say, “can we just play on our phones today?” And this, of course, makes me cringe. Of course, who knows? Maybe that would actually work out. My second thought was that my students have learned just how much I like games. So many a day, they say, “Can we play a game today?” And often, I do say yes. What if I always said yes? Actually, that sounds like a great class. And it sounds like a class that both myself and my students would enjoy. And speaking of games… here’s another TED Talk.
So my goal for the end of the year? I’m going to be play testing a what I am calling an RPC–Role Playing Classroom, which I am running through a powerpoint slideshow.
Okay, maybe you think that having a personalized handshake with every student is just too much for you. Maybe you teach band and you have 100 students in a single class. Maybe you teach high school, and and you wouldn’t be able to remember every handshake for every student in every period anyway. All is not lost…
The last two weeks, I asked my students in each period to spend the first minute of that class shaking hands with each other. I encouraged them to create special handshakes with each other. And this started to spread to me. This gets students moving around and interacting with each other, and helps ensure that I have a personal moment with each student at the start of class. As an added bonus, I believe there is research out there that shows shaking hands helps you trust people (but I have no citation for that, so take it with a grain of salt.)
On a side note, I believe I learned somewhere that shaking hands with others helps you build trust in those people, but I don’t remember where I heard this. If you have any information about this possible science, please leave a link the comments.