Sometimes You Just Need to Go All Gerry Brooks

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Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

I need a break, how about you?

It’s February.  As much as routines are in place and students are usually flying academically this time of year, it can also be an extra stressful time with second-trimester report cards around the corner, summative evaluation meetings, and students pushing limits with unusual behaviors.

Knowing this, my instructional leadership team and I decided to dedicate our staff meeting this week to the connection part of our #unlimitedgrowthandconnection goal of the year at Jefferson.  Using an app called, Goosechase (Thanks Cult of Pedagogy! 6 Ed Tech Tools You Should Try in 2020), we created a scavenger hunt game for our staff to play in teams of three around our school.  The prize?  A duty-free hour lunch on me at a restaurant and day of their choosing.  

Titled, The Big Game of Awesome, the scavenger hunt involved teachers taking either a picture or video of them completing a wide variety of challenges worth anywhere from 400 to 2000 points.  The app includes a leaderboard that teams can check on as they compete upping the fun of the game.   As teams complete challenges, their pictures and videos are added to a feed as well.  

We decided to plan a variety of challenges for the staff that would include an opportunity to laugh, connect with one another and learn from each other.  Below is a slideshow of the challenges (called missions in the app) we created:

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As I started talking at the staff meeting on Thursday, a twinge of nervousness and self-doubt hit my mind and I thought, Are people going to be mad?  Will they think we are wasting their time?  Would they have preferred time to just work?  Thankfully that feeling ended up being completely quelled as I watched the teams race out of the library to start the missions.

My two favorite challenges ended up being Sing a Song of Jefferson and Go All Gerry Brooks.  The song mission showed people’s creativity and it warmed my heart to see our teams making up songs about our school’s mission.  The Gerry Brooks mission gave people permission to be irreverent and brought a levity to some of the things we take so seriously.  When teams came back to the library at the end I played most of them for the staff causing everyone to break out in uproarious laughter. This one, making fun of the actual challenge itself I’ve watched about 10 times since and it makes me laugh every time. 

This experience reminded me we don’t always have to be so serious in education.  The game gave our staff an opportunity to get into one another’s classrooms, learn from one another, build each other up, laugh and grow our community as a whole.  The feedback received was incredibly positive and all of this took less than an hour.  It was just what we all needed.

On a final note, next time you’re considering a structure for a PL or staff meeting or lesson with students, I highly recommend the GooseChase app.  It’s free and super easy to set up.  🙂  If you want to play the same game we created, you can search for The Big Game of Awesome in the app.  (And I swear they didn’t pay me to say any of this)  

 

 

 

 

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