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Webspiration Wednesday

Today I instituted Webspiration Wednesday at my school.  I have noticed over the years that second semester seems to be lacking motivation and morale January through March.  Maybe it is because winter is STILL dragging on, maybe it is because it feels like a long stretch before spring break, or maybe it is because the complaints of the year are really settling in.  I have noticed this phenomenon in all the schools I have been in.  During last weeks #edchat on Twitter, I learned that low morale is a common problem that most schools face.  As we talked about ways to boost morale, I thought about the ways that my amazing PLN boosts my morale every day.  They encourage me, give me new ideas, and reignite my passion with the great links they share.  I wanted to bring some of that to my school.  I wanted teachers to have a chance to laugh together, and enjoy each others company, and get away from the teachers lounge which can end up being a place to gripe about everything that has gone wrong that morning.

Last night, in a moment of divine inspiration, I decided that it was high time for Webspiration Wednesday.  So, this morning I sent out invitations to the entire staff to join me for Webspiration Wednesday lunch in the library.   Teachers trickled into the library, lunches in toe, and we sat down and watched a TED Talk together.  I chose “Sir Ken Robinson Says That Schools Kill Creativity”.  It was a great Ted Talk to start Webspiration Wednesday with, not only is Sir Ken Robinson inspiring, he also has a great sense of humor.  He had us laughing together (which as it turns out is a great stress reliever) and thinking about school and our students in new ways.  After the video had ended a spontaneous and lively discussion ensued about those kids that we have in our classrooms that we are stifling.  We offered each other ideas for giving them room to be creative.  It was fantastic.  We all left are short 25 min. lunch feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.  I wonder if the students noticed a difference in teacher attitudes after lunch?  I plan to hold Webspiration Wednesday every week and have asked my PLN on Twitter to join in using the hash tag #webspirationwednesday if they come across inspiring articles, videos, lessons, stories, etc.

Now a disclaimer, I did not ask permission to start Webspiration Wednesday.  I just did it.   Sometimes I think it is better to ask forgiveness (if need be) than to ask permission.  In our #edchat discussion, we talked about who should have the responsibility to boost morale in a school.  My answer was everyone has that responsibility.  I decided to take my own challenge and be the one who tried something new, something different.  Will you be that person at your school?  What boosts your morale? What have you seen work well in the school setting?

Below is the TED Talk that we watched together, I believe you will find it inspiring.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter has been a great source of joy, encouragement, and friendship.  I have never met 98% of my PLN in person, and yet they are always there for me, cheering me on and offering suggestions when  I fail.  If you haven’t made the leap into the world of Twitter, I highly recommend it.  If you are looking for a top notch group of educators to follow, may I suggest the Edublogger Alliance group?  Once you are on Twitter, be sure to join in on #edchat.  There are two #edchat conversations that take place every Tuesday.  I can feel myself getting smarter as I learn from the BEST educators in the world every Tuesday.  Just follow the hash tag #edchat and be sure to add it to the end of your Twitter messages to participate.  I can promise that you won’t be disappointed.

If I am speaking Greek to you, take a look at @shellterrell’s posts about #edchat and PLN’s.  She will have you joining in the conversation and fun in no time!

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14 Comments

  1. Another great idea Kelly. Your school is very lucky to have you. Congratulations on getting lots of teachers interested. I’m really glad you didn’t ask permission, that you just went for it.

  2. Well, I’m pumped up after that video. There is a point where he tells the story abut the dancer feeling great being in her first dance class because everyone was like her. I can honestly say that being a part of this PLN makes me feel the exact same way. Thanks for making everyone feel welcome and a part of something amazing. Keep working hard and sharing your great ideas and we will allow follow you in changing the word of education.

    -Nick

  3. I really like your idea. Yesterday my IA and I spontaneously viewed a TEDtalks video during our lunch because I was telling her about it. I like the idea of spreading it to other people in the building. Right now, I do a Tech Cafe Thursday- a chance for staff to get together, have coffee, and work on their tech projects for just a half an hour. I like the idea of doing something more motivational during a lunch too. THANKS!

  4. Well done! We’ve had similar groups who come voluntarily before school for breakfast, but I like the idea of just getting together over lunch to relax and view a video that gets you talking.
    There are so many great Ted talks, but if you want some 5 minute clips demonstrating thinking routines for creating a culture of thinking in the classroom, you could watch some of the clips on the Project Zero website http://pzweb.harvard.edu/vt/VisibleThinking_html_files/VisibleThinking1.html
    They’re under ‘pictures of practice’.

    Edna

  5. Hi Kelly,
    I completely agree that the second semester/winter blues can bring down morale but I must say that I am in a pretty creative school with wonderful administrators who regularly boost myself and my colleagues. Right after winter break I started Web Wow Wednesdays at my school. It was going to be an after school, 20 minute quick-tech tip or tool but it has morphed into weekly screencasts that I create and send to my teachers so they can enjoy it on their own time. Though I’m not sure that everyone is partaking in the enjoyment of listening to my voice (that doesn’t come through sounding melodic) and watching my screencasts, I do know that there are some taht come to me after saying they’ve tried something and love it. So, if I can get one or two people a week to try somethig new, soon everyone will have introduced technology in some way.

  6. Kelly, this is a great idea and I completely agree with the ask forgiveness not permission motto, I would never get anything done if I didn’t. I think I will institute something like this at my school.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of begging forgiveness rather than asking permission. Especially with this sort of community building activity, it should be informal and not appear to be “mandated” by administration. What works will continue- what doesn’t work will either change or stop. I’m thinking of taking this idea of lunch and conversation to our next early release day.

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