Thursday, December 26, 2013

Teacher Leadership Challenge | December 20, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 5.01.03 PMThis is a multipart series of posts intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online and in person. The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond within one week to the prompt via a post you publish to your blog. Responses to the prompt that you publish to your own blog should be around 500 words or less. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.
You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published from sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.

As 2013 comes to a close, this will be the year's final installment of the Teacher Leadership ChallengeThe #TLC2014 will resume regular weekly installments on Friday January 10, 2014. 

This Week's Challenge:

How Do You Celebrate Accomplishment in the Classroom?

IMG_2631The holidays are often a time where classroom celebrations take place in schools across the country. Students learn about the cultural traditions and histories of the holidays celebrated in our country and around the world.
Christmas pageants abound in elementary schools, holiday parties happen in classrooms of all grades, and students celebrate the heritage behind the holidays by making crafts or food.
Whether or not your classroom celebrates one or many holidays at the end of the year, December is a time for us to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous 12 months. Classroom celebrations are nothing new, and they are not limited to just holiday time; however, parties and festivities seem to happen much more commonly in December than any other time of the school year. Albeit there are perhaps more holidays to celebrate in December, why do we limit celebrations in the classroom to just this time?
The energy that goes into planning a holiday party, cultural project, or student musical performance at the holidays could very easily be applied at other times in the year. Some teachers choose to celebrate accomplishments in their classrooms throughout the year, whether that is a student's birthday, achievement on a test, or success with a fundraiser. There are many reasons to celebrate in learning all during the year, not just at the holidays.
What are the classroom traditions that you have with your students or at your school?  How do you recognize the holidays in December with kids? Are there other times in the year that you have a classroom party or reward activity? In what ways are your students celebrating learning throughout the year? What events do you recognize as important enough to celebrate with your students? How does a celebration of accomplishment contribute to your student culture and classroom brand?
In some classrooms, kids bring in baked goods for their birthday, while in other classrooms an exceptional performance by the class on a test is reason enough to spring for pizza, but what accomplishments do you point out with your students as being cause for celebration? How have you come to celebrate those achievements with students? What do you hope to accomplish by celebrating milestones in the classroom?
Whether it is a regular occurrence, like a birthday, or an infrequent achievement like exceptional performance on a test, what are the factors that lead you to identify events worth celebrating, and how do you acknowledge those with your class to celebrate learning all year round?

Image Credit: Gary G. Abud, Jr.