At some point in the year, every teacher is faced with the quandry of an “extra day.” Maybe State Testing has thrown off your schedule so one class has 3 meetings and the other has 4. Maybe a late arrival or early dismissal has thrown your synchronization out of wack. Whatever the reason, all teachers know that it is a BIG pain-in-the-you-know-what to have one class ahead of the others.
Faced last week with this same dilemma (one English class met 3 times while the other met 4), I decided to try something new. Instead of giving random extra work to my class that met 4 times, I decided to try a Fed-X Day.
Here were the rules for the day:
1) The first 25 minutes of class were FedX time, and the last 25 minutes were SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) time. I’ll write about the glories of SSR in another post.
2) During FedX time, the students could choose to do anything they liked as long as it was related in some way to English. Some possible options included Creative Writing, Reading, playing Vocabulary Games on FreeRice.com, doing research, making a video, etc. The options were pretty endless, and the students had full control of their choice.
I told them about FedX day a few days before it happened so that they could prepare or plan as necessary.
This was a big risk that I took with my class, but it paid off 10 fold. Some quotes from the day from my students:
– “Yes! I forgot. It’s fed-x day! What are you working on?”
– “Ms. D, can I continue to work on my writing from last class?”
– “Can I play Free Rice?….. Ms. D, do you know what this word means?”
– “Ms. D, I’m working on my novel [this from an 8th grader!]. I don’t want to share it yet because I’m picky about showing my work before it’s ready.”
– “Can I work on improving my typing skills? I need to be able to type faster so when we write it doesn’t take me as long.”
WOW! All of these students chose to work on what interested them. I can’t tell you how my heart fluttered to see 10 boys engrossed in a vocabulary game. One student even decided to do some research and make a graph of his work.
Talk about cross curricular work.
All I had to do was walk around and ask questions about what the students were doing. That was easy, particularly since I was so curious about what each boy chose to do!
From now on, extra days= FedX days in my class.