School is starting! For some, this is the time they have been waiting for. For others, what they have been dreading has finally become a reality.
August is prime time for teachers to get their classrooms ready and start to attend district required professional development trainings and staff meetings. These trainings and meetings contain valuable information and necessities to start the school year and keep progressing throughout the year as a staff, a content specialist, grade level expert, and so on.
While teachers may be generally excited to start a new year, the set-up of staff meeting can be dreadful. Long periods of sitting and watching slide after slide of a monotone lecture is an ironic set-up to how the school year should start in classrooms at every level. If students and teachers are to be energized, then they need to be given a chance to feel energized, or they need the opportunity to have their energy fed.
It is easy to spoon feed information via lecture. It is also relatively risk-free as a presenter. Most people are able to stand and read or speak. It can take little effort, but the rewards are limited. By investing in a few brain breaks, or movement activities involving collegial interactions, staff meetings and trainings can be viewed as more valuable. Plus the information shared has a higher chance of being retained and embraced.
As administrative teams, and teacher leaders, prepare for the back-to-school meetings, I challenge them to thinking of ways to add movement. Below are some simple ways to add a movement or more to a meeting.
- Instead of sitting and discussing, have teacher find a colleague to share comments with via a standing discussion.
- Break teachers up into groups in different areas of the room to have them move to a new location for a discussion. This discussion can be a standing or sitting discussion.
- Rather than showing data via a power point, post the data around the room and have teachers analyze it, or react to it, via a gallery walk.
- When reviewing information, or formulating an opinion base, teachers can participate in a stand-sit response. All teachers stand. As teachers share, they sit (see earlier posts to modify the student version).
- To break up discussion groups, teacher can participate in a rotating conversation gathering multiple perspectives. See the video on the Teaching Channel (https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/conver-stations-strategy).
- Take the discussion outside. In many parts of the country, the weather is gorgeous during the summer months. Teachers can walk and talk while being outdoors.
The options can be endless, and the rewards can be limitless. Plus, modeling ways to get teachers moving can provide teachers with the inspiration to add more movement to their classrooms.