I recently got a request for more examples of Joy Factor at the middle school level. As I was watching some great new footage from our pals over at Achievement First, I noticed this Joy Factor moment from AF Bushwick Middle School’s Eric Snider.
Some thoughts as you watch:
- We always try to remind teachers that good Joy Factor in the classroom has to be the “the servant“–that is its purpose is to support the day’s objective. Here Eric’s class is studying the genre of Science Fiction…the JF occurs as he models tracking both imaginary and real elements. In other words, Eric is totally on-message.
- A good Joy Factor–we think–involves “whistling while you work“… the fun is not the antidote to hard work or the reward for hard work; it’s a way of making the core work of learning fun. Here Eric embeds joy in the core of his mini-lesson. So he scores high for his whistling too.
- Finally a good Joy Factor should benefit from “the faucet“… you have to make it something you can turn on and you can turn off. This clip is a minute and four seconds long. Eric turns on the faucet quickly–gets his kids fired up, dons his practice jersey, does some schtick. There’s some cheering, and then he turns the faucet off. The silliness is under control and they’re off to work. Nothing worse than a Joy Factor that ends with a lecture because students couldn’t handle the fun without coming off the rails (or more precisely because the teacher didn’t teach the kids how to have fun without coming off the rails). A champion teacher recognizes that he’s got to teach students to manage the joy like Eric’s class does. So… 3 for 3 for Eric.
- Bonus points to him for reading 1) an embedded non-fiction article on scientific discoveries about possible life on mars and 2) a story by Ray Bradbury. Rigorous text selection and embedded non-fiction!
- Finally we love what this clip signals about a “culture of practice” … ie Eric puts on a practice jersey to get to work. Message: “What we do to get better is practice. When I model practicing, I’m going to dress the part.” We had a lot of fun over here at Taxonomy Towers playing with all the ways you could work the practice jersey into your classroom culture as a symbol of how a scholar gets better and better.
What else do you see here???