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8 New Rules For The 2017/18 School Year

School is back in full swing. With that comes a whole host of new engagement ideas.

Some of the hottest trends right now are flipped classroom, backwards by design, and ideas centered around community engagement.

Whatever your preferred method may be, there is no doubt that the face of education is changing as fast as innovation itself. (Do you want to make a lot of money? Start an ed-tech company.)

As you build engagement in your classroom for the 2017-2018 school year, prepare students for the ever-changing work world and ever-evolving 21st skill set. Here are some New School Rules for doing just that:

  • Sit Wherever You Want: Sit, stand, stretch, jog in place – whatever you need to do to stay motivated. Consider: How long can you stay seated while maintaining attention? As we prepare our students for 21st-century skills, why not teach 21st-century posture? The workplace is a collaborative, open space, full of ideas that need to be given room to breathe.
  • Don’t Raise Your Hand: When is the last time you raised your hand in a meeting ? Did you get heard, or did someone more ambitious talk over you ? Classroom discussion is one of the greatest ways to encourage self discovery. Let the voices flow! Does it get too chaotic? Perhaps. But there’s an easy way to overcome that. Introduce the sessions with a “ticket out the door.”  Students can’t leave until they written down five good ideas they’ve heard.
  • Don’t Do Any Homework: Work life balance is one of the most important job perks.  So students need a good homework life balance. Different schools have different philosophies, but there’s no doubt when a student is learning for eight hours a day that’s probably enough. At the very least, homework could easily be cut back to a couple nights a week or with long-term projects where a night off won’t be a setback.
  • Be Late (Or Leave Early): For many reasons, school starts way too early. Early start times aren’t even conducive to the working parent, who can lose hours a week getting kids to school and killing time before their late-starting job. So, offer students an incentive to be late with flexible scheduling. Kids are growing; they’re tired. Job programs, community volunteering, and other ideas can help give students community experience. As teachers know, if you give students more autonomy, you’ll be amazed at the responsible decisions they make.
  • Come To Class Unprepared: Expect the unexpected when it comes to being a teacher. Well, you should expect the unexpected as a student, too. The best advice students can get this time of year bears repeating: be open-minded, be resilient, be flexible, be varied in your interests, and you’ll be as well rounded as any student out there.
  • Work As Slow As You Want: Every elementary classroom in the country reads the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. Yet by about middle school, students turn into hares, racing through subjects and grades at breakneck speed. Slow it down. Drive passion. Fall in love with one thing at a time. 
  • Chew Gum: I can’t tell you how many times I was caught chewing gum in class just to be told to throw it out.  I’d have loved to have current research that shows chewing gum increases concentration, increases motivation, and is a super incentive for everyone.
  • Treat Yourself How You Want Others To Treat You: The Golden Rule teaches you to treat others as you want to be treated. That’s good, but if we don’t explain to others how we want to be treated, how can anyone know? Treat yourself right first. Take ownership. Take a high road. Ask for help. Listen. That’s what will come back to you.

Do you like these engagement ideas? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or by contacting us. We always love hearing from education professionals.

About The Author

Chris Coomey is a teacher, writer, and community engagement specialist. When not working with students or writing about education, you can find him on his bike, on the basketball court, or out on a long hike on the incredible Colorado trails.