I wanted to share a few words about the #lastbell hashtag. It came about in a conversation in a Women in Educational Leadership Voxer group. There was a conversation about how many individuals in school begin to think about the end of school and begin to kick back. The #lastbell hashtag and posts are to inspire everyone to make the most of every day in school until the last bell of the last day of school.
One of the best parts of the end of the school year is that it can become a very energizing part of the year. Standardized testing is over for the most part. The bulk of the content has been taught. It can be a great time to try something new!
Have you heard of Breakout EDU? Have you tried a Breakout EDU session with teachers or students? There are entertainment venues called “Escape” rooms. For a fee you and your friends can be locked in a room looking for clues trying to escape before the hour is up.
Breakout EDU is an educational take on the concept. Instead of breaking out of a room, participants look for clues to unlock a box with one to six locks of varying types. I wrote an article on Getting Started with Breakout EDU a few weeks ago. It’s fun and it’s energizing. You can do it with one directional lock for Kindergarten students or many locks with fairly complex puzzles for high school students and adults. There are many prewritten games already online at the breakoutedu.com.
I’ve been enjoying my work with a scavenger hunt app called GooseChase. Perhaps you would like to set up a photo/video scavenger hunt with teachers or students. I used GooseChase as Teacher Inspiration. In addition to what I wrote previously, I used GooseChase with teachers in an after school provisional teacher program. Imagine being a first year teacher transitioning from another line of work, writing lesson plans, learning to work with students, having outside of classroom duties, and then having to go to several hours of class once per week. The teachers dragged into the room at 4:30. By about 5:15 they had completed their competitive scavenger hunt, learned about several new tech tools, and had a blast. Take a look at the post I linked to and learn more.
Get Your Students Collaborating
It seems like some of the “21st Century” skills of communicating, collaborating, critical thinking, and creativity are just hard to get to and get at. This year I recreated two projects I had participated in as a teacher with students as RCAN Collaborative Projects. Perhaps you can have two classes within the same building try something collaborative or between several buildings in the same district. I used Wikispaces as the platform, but you might be able to use a Google Doc and Google Drive. The first project, RCAN Stories, has teams of classes create stories a couple of paragraphs at a time. The second project, RCAN Six Sounds, asks students to create different 60 second audio stories with the same six sounds that must be included. I am so enjoying the written and audio stories. I am planning on turning the written stories into an iBook and PDF. The students will be voting on the best audio story before the end of the month.
A Book for Inspiration
I am recommending a book by Todd Whitaker and Annette Breaux titled “The Ten-Minute In-Service: 40 Quick Training Sessions that Build Teacher Effectiveness.” It is a great book because the in-service sessions have a Purpose, the In-Service, and Implementation pieces. They do not have to be done from number one to number forty. It’s a excellent addition to any bookshelf.
If you have any questions about the ideas above or about #lastbell in general, please feel free to leave a comment. Your last bell in New Jersey may not be until the end of June, but it’s not too early to start thinking about how you will keep yourself and those connected to you in education working until the last bell – be they students or other teachers.