For years now, great principals have moved away from the nuts and bolts staff meeting in favor of interactive professional learning and dialogue.
While the current crisis likely demands a return to orderly info sessions, there will soon be time to engage with our colleagues around professional matters.
So, why not host a Block Party?
If you’ve ever used this, you know how engaging the Block Party can be. It’s my go-to opener for staff meetings and professional learning sessions and it’s never disappointed. (I’m a huge fan of protocols and rely on the School Reform Initiative for their great list of resources.)
It goes like this:
The facilitator chooses quotes related to the topic or theme of the meeting. (You can do this with pieces from one specific article/reading, but I’ve had great luck with these quotes.)
In a face to face meeting, I print the quotes and cut into strips. (There are usually multiples.)
Then, spread out the strips on a table and allow folks to choose one that resonates with them. Give some thinking time and then have people get up, find a partner and share what they chose and why. After both have shared, they move on and find new partners. Repeat as long as you wish. (Usually 3 rounds)
In a large group, people share themes, poignant remarks from partners, etc.
A well-planned “block party” never fails to ignite minds and prepare us for good work.
Now, take the party online…
- Create a Padlet in Grid format.
- Put a different quote at the top of each column. (As many or as few as you want.)
- Make sure you’ve adjusted settings to allow for comments and reactions.
- Ask participants to make sure they choose at least one quote, comment on at least one other person’s response and make sure every response has at least one comment.
Click on the link to access a Block Party Padlet that I’ve pre-populated with relevant quotes.
You’ll need to make a copy. Here’s a quick tutorial for how to do that.
I hope this provides a space for meaningful staff engagement. I’d love to hear reactions and suggestions – contact me here.