Saturday, September 17, 2011

No Office Day

Last year I joined several other principal colleagues from twitter to have a No Office Day. I spent an entire day in classrooms and made it my focus to get in every classroom in the building that day. This year, Principal @Shiraleibowitz started a wiki for International No Office Day. This year I excitedly signed up, but decided to focus on just a few grade levels with the intent of having another No Office Day for the rest of the grade levels. In hindsight, I would like to have a No Office Day for each grade level.

In my Monday Memo I sent staff the following message:
*No Office Day (in 4K-2nd grades) - I plan to set aside days in my calendar throughout the year to spend immersed in classes/grade levels throughout the day. I am really excited about this! I will be in the classrooms from students’ arrival through the end of the day; planning to spend time in the rooms during academic times and to visit specials with your classes. I am happy to sit and observe, but reeeeally what I would love to do is join in the fun. Please put me to work! Need someone to facilitate a small group? Want to team up to teach a topic? Would you like to have someone work 1:1 with a student? Want me to help prepare something on the SMARTBoard? These are all ways I’d be happy to help. Please send me an email to let me know--my calendar is WIDE open!! If there is work/planning I need to complete before that day, kindly let me know a day or two in advance.
I must admit I took the wording from the blog posts I had seen from Principals @L_Hilt and @Fliegs and adapted (why create the wheel?). I keep a calendar outside my office door and usually post a sign that reads "I'm out in classrooms to see what students are learning" each day during my No Office hours, but on the day of my No Office Day, I put the following note on my door:
I’ve joined in with many other school principals from Twitter to have a No Office Day this week (hopefully my first of many)!
I am going to be in 4K-2nd grade classrooms today. :)

I don't know if anyone
noticed the sign, but I try to promote learning and growing professionally through twitter any chance I get.

So, how was my day? Fantastically fun! I left school feeling energized from the awesome teachers, students and learning at my school.

Here's how I spent my day:
Started out my day greeting students in the parking lot, although that is what I do every morning. I then skipped being on the morning announcements, because I wanted to join in classes right away (we also have students join the announcements, so I let them have it all!)

I joined 1st graders in art class as they were learning how to add to their previous project (of patterns colored with crayons) by painting a pattern on top. Our fantastic art teacher told students that paint and crayons don't like each other so the crayon pattern would still be seen once painted over. One of the 1st graders made the connection that crayons and paint are like cats and dogs! Love it!

I joined a 2nd grade class that was reviewing how to identify easy, just right, and hard books and were then given time to put post-it notes on each of the books in their book bin so they can become aware of their book choices and have more just right books than easy/hard. I'm so glad I popped into this class, because it helped me out in my next scheduled place to be....

I assisted in a 1st grade classroom during Daily 5 time by conferencing with individual students on their book choices. Each student I met with showed me all the books in their book bin and told me about why they chose that book and read passages from a few books to me. I particularly enjoyed listening to a very creative 1st grader that had more hard books than just right books, but has a gift for "reading" the pictures of his books and makes up very creative and entertaining stories.

I joined a 5 year-old kindergarten class in music and tried to keep up with their songs/actions. I also noticed in here that my own child acts goofy if I am in the room (but that could be an entirely separate post!)

I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out in another 2nd grade classroom that was working on building their reading stamina during Daily 5 time. I actually read from a kindle book on my iPad.

I read books from one of my favorite authors, Mo Willems, to a couple of 5 year-old kindergarten classrooms.

I joined a 1st grade class during a science lesson on parts of a plant. I helped by pulling student names for them to go up to the SMARTBoard for the interactive pieces of the lesson (was impressed that the teacher used activities that allowed for almost everyone to go to the SMARTBoard twice).

I visited the remainder of the 4K-2nd grade classes that I didn't describe above.

I look forward to scheduling additional No Office Days (in addition to my No Office Hours that I already have each day) and hope to participate more instead of just observing.


  1. Great post! I love this and even though I'm not a principal, as a coach, I want to do this!

  2. Sounds like a great day. I deserve no credit fo the language as I got it from someone else in the first place - can't remember who though ;)

    Anyway, it is great to read about your day. I'll be writing about my own real soon.

  3. As a grade one teacher I LOVE that you got into the classrooms and taught along side your teachers, and learned along side your students. I love it! What type of insight did you gain by being involved inside the classroom? I hope this idea spreads. K. Lirenman

  4. I love this idea!!! Did you go to many classrooms in one day or try and stay for big chunks of time in one classroom??


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