Every time I spend seven hours in a professional development workshop it changes my teaching for at least a week. I guess I need frequent reminders that human beings are not meant to sit in a hard chair for seven hours with occasional restroom breaks and a 30-min. lunch break. It's interesting that when we are in the role of students, we call it a good day when there's lots of opportunity for movement, group work, and a little fun in our work, but we don't provide those things for our students as often as we should.
I love doing gallery strolls and using task cards to get students up and moving. I'll try just about anything to get kids out of those terrible hard seats for a while.
I'm super excited about the potential for learning with movement in the recent phenomenon of Escape Rooms. It's a perfect time to try one yourself! The basic idea is that student teams work together to compete against other teams to be first to finish a series of tasks, each of which gives them clues they need to complete the next task leading to a final opportunity to use every clue for the last task and the escape!
When kids have spent all day taking tests they will really appreciate and enjoy a chance to chat, laugh, and move around in a "gamified" activity. And if year-end testing is over, then an Escape Room is a perfect way to combat the "we can stop learning now" attitude we often see in middle school kids in the final few weeks of school.
I'm happy to introduce my first Escape Room, and hope that the topic - Biomes - will be a perfect theme for this time of year in your class!