Okay…so I’ll be honest. That title is a bit misleading. Today I only had a few hours of #NoOfficeDay (No Office Day). That was all I could squeeze in, but it was awesome! I sang songs with kindergarten students, discussed books with 4th grade, and played the place value dice game with a small group of 2nd graders. And #NoOfficeDay is even continuing tonight at home while I hone my Minecrafting skills building the Washington Monument with some elementary and middle school students as part of our home school program.
I first heard about No Office Day from one of my
colleagues mentors, Jennifer Kloczko. She shared a variety of posts about administrators who spend a day out of the classroom on a regular basis connecting with kids and teachers – here are a few to check out (One, Two, Three). Most of the authors are site administrators (principals, vice principals) with direct connections to school sites and classrooms. As someone who works at more of district office level, supporting multiple sites I’ve wondered what this might look like for me. Today I followed Jennifer for a few hours on her first No Office Day just to get some ideas and here’s what I am walking away with to plan out my own days this year.
- No Office Day is a perfect opportunity to co-teach lessons with another teacher. Considering my role it would be a great way to weave technology seamlessly into the classroom by developing a lesson with a teacher who wants to try out a new tool or strategy.
- No Office Day is an excellent venue to model learning through trial-and-error for kids. While the second graders traditionally know me as a teacher, they also got to see me struggle as a student to understand the place value game, but within a few minutes they had me up and running. Same thing happened in kindergarten as we sang songs they already knew and they had to teach me the dance moves.
- No Office Day doesn’t have to be the same day every week, but should occur on a regular basis – maybe one day each month at first with the goal of working up to weekly or every-other-week occurrences. Similarly, it doesn’t have to be the whole day it could be just half of it..or the time between bus and lunch duties.
- No Office Day could include reading to students, sharing your writing during Writers Workshop, or assisting with a science lab. Bring supplies (a book, writers notebook, pencils, etc.) and be prepared to weave right into the learning.
- No Office Day is not about popping into classrooms and formally observing teachers for 10-15 minutes. It is really about being apart of the classroom – either as a teacher or as a student.
These are just a few of my initial ideas. I am sure I will have more as additional No Office Days unfold throughout the year. More than anything else today left me hungry for my next No Office Day. It was also the perfect antidote to the dreariness that can set in after answering dozens of emails in a silent, fluorescently-lit office. If you have an office you know exactly what I am talking about. And here is the real deal – the emails and voicemails will still be there when you get back. You’ll just now have a big ol’ smile plastered across your face after reconnecting with kids and teachers.