What to do with extra time in a day so you don't waste learning opportunities? Here is a flex structure I created for a class class that will meet 3 days a week for 4 weeks, but this can be adapted as a daily class, or other. Thanks to Mr Ciambrone and the 7th grade teachers for the daily theme title inspiration.
I'm going to begin with some class-building discussions the first Tues and Weds and move into external content the first Thursday.
Talk about it Tuesday - Students talk about the previous Thusrday's wonder in a circle facing one another and following socratic seminar rules for discussion.
Write about it Wednesday - Students write plans of action, invention blueprints, private journal entries, advocacy letters, or social media posts about their final musings on what they saw and discussed. They will research if needed and have a share out.
Think about it Thursday- Students view together a video on and then read about a compelling topic in science or social science, Tech, Engineering, Arts or Mathematics (like TEDed, Nature video, video about how to make optical illusions with math, etc) then think about it or do more research for the rest of class or on their own if desired.
Tomorrow begins our end of year testing. Due to outdated competitive attitudes and well-intentioned conscientiousness, many teachers use the last day for last minute-review blast of facts. I used to do that, too, even after I knew it was not proven effective educational practice.
But Ms. Lyttle and Ms McCarthy have what researchers say is a better idea. You can easily adapt their lesson for your own class to help students recognize and combat the stress that has been shown to hamper test performance by shutting down thinking and even restricting blood flow to the brain.
There are plenty of resources online for all age levels that you can cull to share with students: from yoga videos and guided relaxation music to stress-busting suggestions and rate your anxiety quizzes.
Here is a step by step of the Pre-Test Day Stress-busting lesson their students experienced, in photos:
I am Lisa Gurthie the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary, holistic education, and unschooling school to make it more real and relevant. One day I will modernize my "about" page. Check out the other blogs on this site for Lesson Ideas, Celebration of Good Teaching, and Piedmont PD