When I attended Edcamp Chicago this past weekend I went to an unusual session on classroom hacks. When @joemacchia pitched the idea it caught my attention right away. He kicked the topic off with an age-old example, tennis balls on the bottom of chairs, that was the original classroom hack. He then asked us what was our hack? How have we changed our classroom environment to run smoothly and keep students focused on learning? Powerful questions @joemacchia. Below are the top 10 hacks for a classroom.
10. Don’t make two versions of tests. Just make a new first page and make a couple of colored tests. Gets the job done.
9. Hooks or cubbies for older grades. HS students can leave distractions at the door just like the kids in kindergarten.
8. Apple by the door – need to leave. Pick up the apple – make eye contact with teacher and you can leave. Don’t interrupt the lesson just for bathroom or drink.
7. “Oops” book – Have students write down their own behavior in their section of the Oops book. Students self-monitoring. Great for parent teacher conferences.
6. Volume classroom hack – Play music quietly in the back ground. If students can’t hear the music they are too loud.
5. Novel in a Day Hack – tear up a book give portions to each kid and present important points of your section.
4. Leave pass on desk instead of taking pass with them – No germ passes. You still know where they are due to the pass on desk.
3. Sunset video on youtube as your classroom timer. Students not sure when the activity ends like with a real timer. They focus more on learning and it is just fun.
2. Don’t ask for three reflections, ask for ten and ignore the first 5 – they will be obvious. The last five where it gets at higher-ordered thinking.
1. Randomizing kids using numbers on desks.Can use this multiple ways here is one example: Students can take seats and you call on pre-determined seats for questions.
These were the best ideas, in my opinion, from the session on classroom hacks. I really love this topic idea. I think a wider audience needs to share their ideas on the topic. Think about posting below some hacks you have for your classroom. Hacks come in all sizes and shapes. Some hacks are physical and others focused on instruction and learning. Share and share alike.
As always, follow me on twitter @mrmatera and think about adding to the discussion by posting your class hacks below in the comments. I would like to thank Joe for introducing me to this idea and hope to learn more from him on twitter.
Since writing this post, Joe Macchia has launch a new website dedicated to this concept. Check out eduhax.com
Update to the Update:
At Edcamp Milwaukee there was another EDU Hax presentation. Here are the notes from that session. Many great ideas to steal and build into your classroom.