Are students completely absorbed by their work (in a good way)? Are teachers absorbed in creative and innovative projects? Does playful describe your work? Does extreme engagement describe your teams?
These questions are at the heart of the Mafost Mashup Episode 5: Meaningful Work (click to listen on Apple Podcasts or Google Play). I’d like to expand on the podcast by offering a quick list of ways to create meaningful work opportunities.
- Silent work time during collaborative meetings or planning time.
- Where is the “bus” going? Be redundant by talking about this at each meeting.
- Plan for genius hour in classrooms and for teaching staff.
- Use coaching models to spur inquiry such as the “Why-What If-How” (Read more in Everyday Instructional Coaching).
- Create student teams instead of classrooms where they work on common goals, projects, and share interests.
- Instead of (or in addition to) PBIS student jobs, have student entrepreneurs that create solutions for the school community.
- Rethink using PBL (project based learning). Instead, create a PBL culture.
- Personalize challenges for students. Too much challenge creates frustration. Too little challenge creates boredom. Just-right challenges create meaningful work and flow.
- Rethink grade levels.
- Rethink core courses.
- Rethink class times.
- Create a “skills-time” that looks more like traditional core coursework, but limit it based on student need.
- Create meaningful work time that is full-application and exploration of skills, ideas, solutions, and life.
Most importantly, merely begin.
Don’t overplan or overthink it. Meaningful work is found in the doing, learning from the doing, and adjusting as you go.