24 years teaching student leadership – can an old dog learn a new trick? Yes he can!!!
I always felt it was not worth it to fight with kids over cellphone use in class. I would constantly be reminding them and it would make me crazy. So other than the occasional reminder to put them away I quietly surrendered. Then my spring 2021 grade 10 class changed my mind. They were constantly on their phones and it had a significant negative impact on the learning and success of that class. Something had to be done. But how? Constant lecturing and punishing would kill me and our leadership program.
I got my answer from my superstar Leadership colleagues Jane Grant and Tom Yonge at Scona High School in Edmonton. Do Now! Activities and a cell phone caddy. Let me explain.
First thing students do when they arrive is to put their cell phone in the caddy. They each have an assigned pocket # so that I know who may have left their phone behind (only happened once this semester 🙂 or who hasn’t put theirs away.
Then they see on the screen a Do Now activity they are to start on right away. These are team building, skill building, and fun. After 5 or 10 minutes I shut it down and get on with class. Here are some sample activities.
Click here to download my Do Now PowerPoint. Tom and Jane shared theirs with me and I have made some additions with help from others. https://1drv.ms/p/s!Ah1BegozVtqB4if2RSgXWpX5SFKf?e=oMiNvk
You can purchase a cell phone caddy here on Amazon https://www.amazon.ca/NIMES-Numbered-Organizer-Classroom-Calculators/dp/B074Z3WS9Y/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=3NCPBFHJP3Z7N&keywords=classroom%2Bcell%2Bphone%2Bholder&qid=1643135204&sprefix=classroom%2Bcell%2Caps%2C109&sr=8-1-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyT1FVWjY3M0FDREI2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzI0ODE2Mzk5V0FQWUlER08xUiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzcxMjUzMTA2TDBDMFpQODI1NiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU&th=1
How did I present this to the class?
I was honest. I told them how cell phones were getting in the way of our class success. I told them this was not optional. They are to put their phone in the caddy before they sit down. They can pick it up 10 minutes before class ends. I posted those times for each class. Then one smart kid asked how they will know what time it is if they don’t have their phone – Good Point! I bought a digital clock and put it by the caddy. If they need their phone during class they come check with me. I then focused on how great the Do Now activities will be.
After One Semester Results
Awesome!!! A game changer. How?
- Improved class discussions
- they talk to each other more
- increased productivity with students seeming more present
- good clean Do Now fun!!!
- a happier and less stressed teacher
Key Leadership Lessons for us all
Keep connections with great colleagues like Jane and Tom – we need everyone’s good ideas
Energy, excitement, and quality activities right from the beginning set a great tone.
Old (and young) dogs can learn new tricks.
Hope you have Do Now! success with your classes, councils, and programs too.
Looking for a speaker or workshop facilitator?
As things hopefully start opening up please consider having me come to your school or conference to work with students and / or teachers. Click here https://brentdickson.net/speaker-presentations/ to see what presentations I offer. Or if you are looking for something different or more specific let me know. I’m flexible 🙂