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Reset the Room | Hooray For Monday

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. Prefer audio? Listen to the Hooray For Monday podcast! Available on your favorite platforms here.

January 1, 2024

By Jenna Fournel, Director of Teaching and Learning

January 1 always feels so full of promise and potential. Even if we’re approaching the midpoint of the school year, the flip of the calendar reminds us in a concrete way that we’ve completed 12 months and we’re starting 12 more. What will we do with our time in the days and weeks ahead? What will we learn? What will we teach? Who will we become? 

These big questions push many of us to create resolutions for the year ahead and if that’s true for you this week’s Hooray for Monday issue is curated to support some of the most common goals we set for ourselves – ways to move more, ways to stress less, ways to try new things.

As you browse the collections we’ve put together below, we want to share some advice for keeping your resolutions.

This advice comes from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, a book about how “tiny changes can lead to remarkable results.” Clear explains that we set ourselves up better to make changes when we “reset the room” to decrease or increase friction around our goals: “The greater the friction, the less likely the habit.” The inverse is also true — reduce friction to build a habit.

This advice comes from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits a book about how “tiny changes can lead to remarkable results.” Clear explains that we set ourselves up better to make changes when we “reset the room” to decrease or increase friction around our goals. “The greater the friction, the less likely the habit.” The inverse is also true, reduce friction to build a habit. 

In a lovely short article about this, Clear illustrates the changes you can make to a physical space to build or reduce friction to reduce or increase a habit. For example: 

  • Increase friction to reduce TV time by unplugging a TV after you’ve used it.
  • Decrease friction to increase connection with old friends by putting cards sorted by occasion, stamps, and a pen all in one easy-to-find box that always stays in the same location. 

We “reset the room” in our classrooms all the time when we reorient seating arrangements, set up learning stations, shift schedules, sort classroom libraries, etc. It’s interesting to think about how we might reset the room of our own lives. Where do we need more friction? Where do we need less? 

If any of the below themes touch upon your New Year’s Resolutions — or even if they don’t — check them out for ideas that may either reduce or increase friction toward your goals.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead filled with curiosity and opportunities to grow!

Getting More Active

Incorporating movement with learning is common in the early childhood classroom, but becomes less and less so as our students get older. But research shows that being active helps us all learn better — no matter our age! Inspired Teaching offers numerous activities that get students and teachers at all grade levels out of their seats.

Read these:

The Desk is a Barrier

Rules of Inspired Teaching Improv

What Makes a Yogi Curious?

Play Big

Get Engaged

Feeling Young

You Can’t be Joyful Yesterday

Reflections from a First-Year Inspired Teacher

Try these:

Moving Cargo

Random Walk
Warming Up with Mutual Respect

4 Ways to Start Class with Movement

How Vigorous is my Heart?

10 Ways to Make a Walk a Learning Experience

3 Review Games

Prep to Music

Take a Break and Move!

Walk the Walk

Download this:

Games that Build Student Expertise

Creating Space for Reflection

Time is often at a premium for teachers. Our days are filled with classes, lesson planning, professional development, and unexpected detours in classrooms and hallways. Creating space for reflection may seem a tall task, but even sparing a few moments a day to gather revisit what’s been accomplished can go a long way in helping clarify what’s still to be done.

Read these:

What are You Taking with You?

What Inspired You to Teach?

The Candle Question

Zooming Out

Divine Dissatisfaction

Mine the Data

Preserving Memories

Finding Newness in Repetition

Try these:

Do Just One Thing: The Power of Presence

Sometimes

Zoom Out

What Would Make You Look Forward to Coming to School?

5 Closing Activities to Give You Feedback on Your Lessons

Finding Yourself on the Line

Coloring Our Emotions

Automatic Writing

Let Go of “Deliver”

Scribe’s Record

What Drives You?

Download these:

21 Ways to End School Days

10 Ways to End the School Year

Self-Care and Meeting Needs

“Self-care” may be a bit of a buzzword at this point, but the need to check in with and care for yourself is hardly a trend. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” as the saying goes, and for teachers this means that addressing our core needs is vital to ensuring we are able to help our students address theirs.

Read these:

Building Stamina

What Supports You?

The Importance of Rest

Professional Learning as Self-Care

Teaching Sound “Self-Love”

What do You Need Right Now?

Vacation and Brain Incubation

Try these:

Do Just One Thing: The Power of Presence

Inside/Outside

Sometimes

Finding Smiles

Finding Yourself on the Line

Coloring Our Emotions

4 Ways to Start Class with Breathing and Mindfulness

3 Ways to Check the Mood of the Room

Where are My Needs?

Emotion Continuum

Download these:

ABCDE of Learner Needs Guidebook

Early Childhood Edition: ABCDE of Learner Needs Guidebook

Building Connections

In early 2023, we learned how important building school connectedness is for our students’ mental health and well-being. A sense of community is vital for teachers, as well. In the wake of the upheaval from the pandemic, make 2024 a year of forging stronger relationships with your colleagues, your students, and yourself.

Read these:

Collective Effervescence

Essential Community Members

Good Company

We All Need Belonging

Beyond Box-Checking

We Learn Better When We are Known

Building Relationships

Making Music Together

Building Community

Try these:

Word-at-a-Time Stories

Warming Up with Mutual Respect

8 Closing Activities to Build Classroom Community

3 Closing Activities to Connect with Family

4 Ways to Build Community

Seeing with Different Eyes

What Would You See in a Museum of Me?

Listening with Someone Else’s Ears

Interesting, Important, Useful

Lunch Date

Make Room

Profile Pages

Download this:

Fostering Mutual Respect

Watch this:

Conversations on Connection

Learning Something New

It can be easy to fall into routine with our teaching materials and techniques, especially with subject matter we’ve worked with for years. But challenging ourselves to expand what might be possible helps to reinvigorate our practice and model what lifelong learning looks like for our students!

Read these:

Professional Learning as Self-Care

The Right Kind of Challenge

What Else Might be Possible?

Be Curious. Inquiry — the Second “I”

Finding Newness in Repetition

What’s Your Handstand?

Bring on the Challenge

Try these:

Student-Led Museum Tour

Making Re-Solutions

5 Closing Activities to Reinforce Learning

4 Ways to Connect Warm-up to Content

Building Sensory Awareness

Finding the Zone of Proximal Development

Start a News Show

Ask “So What?”

Say “Yet”

See with Fresh Eyes

What Drives You?

Download this:

Crafting Assignments with Purpose

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

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