This post includes the session plans given to my regional and sector manager after holding the DREAM Workshop at my school. If you’d like to read the report that goes with it, you can read it here.
Presented by Emily Grund
- To explore intrinsic motivation techniques related to administration, teaching, and classroom management.
- To develop goals for the upcoming school year through a series of hands on activities.
Venue: School gym
Materials needed: Tables, chairs, poster paper, markers, white board, portable microphone, crayons, bond paper, scotch tape.
- To assess the amount of teachers present
- To discuss attendance techniques for classroom management
Activity: Post an attendance list on poster board with all the teachers’ names on the wall. As teachers arrive, give them a slip of paper to answer the question of the morning. “What is your favorite part about teaching?” Then have teachers post their answer next to their name. Announce if they do not answer they will be marked absent from the workshop. Discuss the answers, as well as the activity after the introduction. Ask teachers to share their ways of taking attendance.
Reflection: Teachers seemed to enjoy this activity. It took awhile since teachers arrived at different times. I repeated the activity at lunch with a different question, “What was your favorite activity from the morning?” It went faster after lunch because they knew what to expect. I shared that this could be adapted to their classrooms but not much further discussion happened during this activity because of time constraints. It was really interesting to see the answers from the teachers, they were thoughtful even though they joked their favorite part about teaching was break time. Some favorites: “Giving advice to students,” “witnessing learning and understanding,” and “sharing ideas and gaining knowledge from other teachers.”
Objective: To reinforce positive behavior from the teachers during the work shop
Activity: I used a point system called Motivation Station (adapted from a Peace Corps conference point system). Departments were given points for participation, winning an activity, etc. They lost points if their cell phones went off or if there was no participation during an activity. The team with the most points at the end of the day got the award “Most Motivated Department” including a prize.
Reflection: The teachers took the point system seriously, and it definitely encouraged participation!
Energizer: Song: “I’m here because you’re here because I’m here because you’re here. I’m here because you’re here because I’m here because you’re here.” Sing with actions Thumbs in, thumbs down, hands crossed over chest, pointer finger out, pointer finger down, hands crossed over chest, and repeat. Sing three times. Each time getting faster.
Reflection: Got the teachers moving, and laughing! (No pictures, sorry!)
Objective: For departments to work together and problem solve.
Activity: Human knot. Get in a circle with your department. Everyone raise your right hand, reach across and grab the hand of someone across the circle. Make sure it is not the person you are standing next to. Everyone raise your left hand, reach across and grab the hand of a different person. Again, make sure it is not the same person or the person standing next to you. Now work together to untie the knot!
Reflection: One department didn’t even try to complete it, but they learned their lesson when they lost points from the Motivation Station. The rest of the departments had fun and most eventually completed the activity.
- To share personal experiences related to the stories
- To explore the morals of the stories
Activity: Two stories were chosen from Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. “Attitude of Gratitude” and “I’m Glad it’s You and Not Me.” Four departments got one story and the other four got the other. Each department was asked to designate someone to read it out loud, or to share the reading evenly. On manila paper, teachers were asked to write what they thought the moral of the story was and personal experiences within the department that related to the story.
Reflection: Teachers had a really good discussion during this activity. Many of them were able to relate to having difficult students or feeling uninspired because of the challenges of teaching but from the stories also learned the importance of never giving up on themselves or on their students.
After snacks, we had another energizer “All the melodies in my heart” another song with actions. The teachers enjoyed it because it’s silly, easy, and got them moving again.
Scavenger Hunt for Expectations.
- To build team unity
- To review the daily expectations of teachers
Activity: Each department was given a different clue for a certain place around the school. From there each clue led to another place. They had to write down the order of the clues and the rooms that matched them. The first department to be finished first got points towards Motivation Station. Discussion followed.
Reflection: The teachers had fun with this activity but during discussion it seemed they didn’t understand the point of the scavenger hunt. I reworded my questions, which eventually led to a deeper discussion about teacher expectations. This flowed very nicely into the next activity.
- To brainstorm teacher rules that are important to them
- To discuss rewards and consequences that motivate teachers
Activity: Each teacher was asked to write down a rule for teachers that is important to them on a white piece of paper. After they were done, they were instructed to crumple the piece of paper into a ball. They were first asked to create a snowstorm by running around like the wind and making snow fall by throwing their paper into the air. Afterwards, they broke off into two groups and then had a snowball fight. The teachers had to then grab one of the papers thrown at them and with a partner come up with three rewards for following the rule and three consequences for breaking the rule. A discussion followed the activity.
Reflection: The teachers really enjoyed the snowball fight and came up with some great rewards and consequences that I could see working for our school such as teacher of the month awards for a reward or getting observed by the head teacher for a consequence.
After lunch we began with the “Captain of the Ship” icebreaker/energizer. Teachers had to listen to the commands of the captain (me- hehehe) and with each command had to do a different action, with different amounts of people. For example, when I said “Captain’s ball”, they had to find a partner and dance, but when I said “Row the boat” they had to find two other people to row the boat with them. When they couldn’t find the right amount of people for the command, they were eliminated. Most teachers had fun with this activity, however, some did not care about winning so they sat down early on.
- To introduce a “cool down” activity, opposite of energizer
- To visualize past, present, and future scenarios related to teaching
Activity: Brief breathing techniques for meditation to start, then all teachers close their eyes and MC reads situations for teachers to imagine.
Distant Past: Imagine you’re in a classroom as a student, you’re favorite/least favorite teacher is teaching, how do they teach, why do you like/not like them, how do you feel?
Recent Past: Imagine you’re in a classroom as a teacher, you are teaching your best/worst class. What are the students doing? What is the environment like? How do you feel?
Future: Imagine you’re in a classroom as a teacher this coming school year. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want your students to do? How do you envision your attitude?
Share thoughts in between each meditation. At the end have a larger group discussion about the activity.
Reflection: Lots of participation from this activity. Most teachers, even if they had been teaching for over twenty years could still remember their favorite or least favorite teacher in high school. Bringing up those memories made them think of how they are as teachers and what they could do differently to improve.
Objective: For teachers to brainstorm ways to get involved with students, teachers, or the community outside of the classroom.
Activity: Teachers were first asked to write down their hobbies, things they like to do for fun, and community service projects that interest them. After they were finished, teachers were asked to match each thing written with a potential extracurricular activity that went with it. For example, if their hobby was gardening maybe a gardening club could start at the school. If for fun they like to play basketball, maybe the teachers could start their own recreational team. And if for community service they’re interested in the environment maybe they would like to have a clean up drive. Ideas were written on manila paper and then shared with the group later.
Reflection: Teachers had some good ideas to match their interest. If there had been more time I would have liked to brainstorm how they could actually get those activities off the ground (I hope to focus more on this during my next workshop).
Objective: To create team unity and have fun
Activity: Departments were asked to make a cheer that was motivational and positive. Three office workers at the school were the judges and the criterion was creativity, energy, and unity.
Reflection: A fun way to end the workshop. Teachers were able to come up with fun cheers in a short time and perform for the rest of the departments.
Reflection overall: Originally it was supposed to be a two day workshop, and I had to cut a few activities to fit it into one day. I wanted to talk further about project/idea development but then realized that could be an entire workshop in itself. I hope to create a survey for the teachers to answer what activities were the most effective and if they have or will use any of the strategies learned. I also want to have a follow up meeting with teachers interested in starting up extracurricular activities with students or teachers. Overall, I think the day was a success. It got the teachers thinking about how their teaching effects not only the students but also themselves. I was very impressed with the depth of the participation and wish I had more time to encourage even more discussion.