Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Social Media and the Power of Positivity to #celebrateMonday

Yesterday was our first day back to school after a week long spring break. I was happy to go back, because I truly believe I have the best job in the entire world; but I also knew from eight previous years experience what my students would probably be like on the first Monday back. Many of them would be happy to be back as well, but few would say so. Most would be tired, for they hadn’t gotten up at “school time” all week. Most would have waves of energy that come from seeing their friends they might not have seen for a week. And in the last couple of years, they have to see if everything they heard about on social media was true and lasting.

I had planned accordingly.  We would learn and get something accomplished, but the day wasn’t too strenuous.  They would have time to collaborate with their peers. I would use the routine of that darn required vocabulary book (that’s another story) to help them get back into the swing of things. And, since it was Monday and they would all be checking social media today more than ever, we would do a #celebrateMonday.

My students know I value social media when used productively, and I have been incorporating it into my classroom regularly since we have the advantage of 1:1 Chromebooks this year. One of the positive uses I’ve been promoting is the idea to reshape our thinking about Mondays. In their book School Culture Rewired, Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker promote the idea, explaining that our culture places more value on the weekend. The only way to change the overall feeling about Mondays and make students (and educators) want to be at school is to change our mindset to look forward to Mondays and the fresh opportunities they offer.

I have been tweeting #celebrateMonday reasons for a few months now, and a few weeks ago I thought, “This would be a great idea for my students!” I made the assignment voluntary, so the first few times not many students did it.  It might not be “cool” to tweet about this. Mrs. Manahan is a crazy lady anyway. Why should we #celebrateMonday? Steadily, the number of students tweeting reasons has been increasing! But I was not prepared for the response I got yesterday!

As I explained it was another Monday and reason to celebrate, and would you please consider tweeting your reason with the hashtag, my students got excited! They were so excited, they asked me to take pictures-selfies with all of us! The results were amazing, and first period the day after spring break turned into an amazing, energized, happy place to be!

The excitement was contagious too! More than one-third of all of my students tweeted a reason to #celebrateMonday yesterday. Slowly but surely, my positive attitude and discussion is working...How else can we impact school and classroom culture with a deliberate, gradual, and relentless message? What other positive changes can we bring if we try? Oh, the possibilities!