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When I think about a Friday coming, I always smile. And after nearly three years of supplying my school system with what I call a “Friday Five,” I almost start laughing. I laugh because I am shocked that I’m still going strong and looking forward to the challenge again next school year.
What’s the Friday Five?
Let me tell you about “The Friday Five.” When we began technology training in Talladega County, we knew how important it would be to gently remind our new learners to constantly search, learn, experiment, and discover for themselves. So I began emailing these learners each Friday. I offered them a short list of things to browse, read, and explore. Each of the five tips/inspirations are very short, but always provide links or attached documents for further reading. To my great surprise, this public email, read and explored privately, has become an amazing teaching tool. My elementary counterpart began her own Friday Five in the second year for our elementary teachers. My Friday Five has expanded to every educator in our system in the third year. I especially enjoy the challenge of trying to inspire secretaries, CNP managers, support personnel, and others in our system to find ways to use technology to improve their lives.
Why do I do this?
Learning is social and personal. I knew that colleagues would be more likely to read a personal email from me on technology than go out in search of information on their own. I made a commitment to provide them with encouraging, concise information on a regular basis. That was extremely important. If every person serious about learning had to email a group of colleagues a top five list of what he or she had learned each week, amazing things would happen and happen fast! I knew I wanted to be a leader with credibility. So, I had to work for it. It’s just crazy that it turned out to be easier to learn that I thought.!
How do I do this?
So many people ask me where I find the content for each Friday’s email. They never believe me when I say that it’s easier than it looks. “Use your personal learning network.,” I tell them. “Don’t have one? Then, create one.” I have a “potential Friday Five” email folder for items that come in from random sources that might need further exploration. My RSS feeds of blogs and other news that I follow lead me to some great pieces. My facebook friends, Twitter contacts, and delicious network provide countless places for me to explore what’s new and interesting. I read constantly, stay in contact with teachers throughout the country, and listen to my colleagues with new purpose. I always have a bit of my mind on my self-imposed Friday assignment. And I’m so glad that I do. By paying attention to what’s going on around me I am able to serve others with information, advice, and perspective. When I see teachers and colleagues use information obtained from a Friday Five, I know that I’m on the right track.
Check out over 500 tips, links, bits of inspiration, and tricks from the last few years. Enjoy!