HyperDocs

What If You Just Said, "Yes"?

2017 was the first time that I picked a word to guide me for the year ahead. I liked the idea of the simplicity of that process - rather than a whole list of resolutions, streamlining things into one word of intention that would keep me focussed and moving forward.  I won’t share publicly on the blog the word I chose last year, but I WILL say that the Universe had a whole different definition of it than what I had intended in my own mind - and not at all in a way that worked with my plans and dreams for 2017. Things definitely did not turn out the way I had hoped with that one carefully chosen word. As a result, I was a little nervous to choose a word for 2018, fearing that I might face a similar situation with my new selection.

My friend, HyperDoc guru and amazing educator Lisa Highfill, tagged me in a post about a special “One Little Word” HyperDoc created by the equally outstanding educator, Sarah Landis.  It was beautiful and inspiring enough to convince me to revisit the value of this process and practice, to try it out with my students, and to choose another word myself.  I have embedded the HyperDoc below, but you can also access it at: http://bit.ly/onewordhd  As always with HyperDocs, please maintain credit to the original author in your copies or iterations.

While browsing my Twitter feed, I noticed others posting similar One Word activities, and sharing their own words for 2018, using the hashtag #oneword2018.  I was inspired by the great posts, the quality word choices, and the ideas for extending this activity.  There were beautiful graphic designs, amazing decorated doors, stellar sketchnotes, and much more to peruse. So much One Word goodness was being posted!  Another terrific One Word HyperDoc was shared by Meredith Akers on her website.  I definitely recommend you check it out as well. It is similar in idea to Sarah’s HyperDoc, but has a slightly different format for sharing out each student’s word. You can choose what might work best for your class - or possibly a mash-up of both! You can find Meredith’s activity details by clicking here.

Choosing a word does not have to be something that you do just at the beginning of the year.  I can see this being a powerful practice at the start of each month, each term or semester, or even each season of the year.  It might be something you do each year on your birthday, or at other pivotal times where you would like to refocus yourself.  It is never a bad time to stop, reflect, and move forward with intention. The word you choose is a great touchstone to come back to as you ponder next steps and consider how it has influenced the time in between choosing it and where you are now.  In British Columbia, where I live, our students are required to self-assess on a number of important core competencies.  The One Word activity could definitely tie very nicely into these reflections and assessments.

Maybe choosing a word is not your thing, but you would still like to have your students thinking about the year ahead and setting goals and intentions.  You might be interested in this additional activity that talented Texas educator Kasey Bell posted on her blog about creating digital vision boards.  I love this idea so much that I think my class will be doing it in addition to the One Word exercises!  You can find instructions and inspiration for Kasey’s vision board activity by clicking here.

I kept resisting picking my own word for 2018, but there WAS a word that kept showing up for me that was really resonating.  That word was, “Yes.”  It showed up when I had to decide whether to take a friend up on her incredible offer of a special, last minute vacation getaway.  It appeared in some beautiful meditations that I practiced from incredible teacher and author Tara Brach.  I kept finding it in articles and posts and books that I was reading.  It also showed up when Lisa tagged me in the post about the One Word HyperDoc, inviting me to reconsider choosing a word for this year and encouraging my students to join me. I have decided to let go of my fear from last year, say “Yes!” to the word, “yes”, and claim that word for my own this year. I am choosing to believe that "yes" means that good things will come to me when I release fear, try new things, choose to shift perspective and see the underlying freedom in situations that might feel like they are currently burdening me, and receive opportunities that are sent my way. My fingers are crossed that this year my word takes me places that are far better than I ever could have imagined.

If you are struggling to choose a word, even after looking through the great resources, inspiration, and word lists, maybe you should consider making up your own word? My thoughtful father recently came across and shared with me a really incredible TEDx talk by John Koening called, “Beautiful New Words to Describe Obscure Emotions” which might inspire you to start generating words of your own. John is the author of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows where he shares the words he has created to describe things that have previously eluded a single expression to define them.  He also has a YouTube channel where you can view all of the videos for the words he has carefully and thoughtfully crafted. The videos are absolutely, breathtakingly, poetically beautiful.  “Socha” made my breath catch.  “Sonder” touched my heart.  I have posted it below. Sonder means, “The realization that everyone has a story.”  What do you hope your story will look like in 2018? What word will you choose to represent it this year?

Have you chosen a word for 2018?

Have you tried doing a one word or vision boarding activity to start the new year with your students?

Do you have any other great activities that you like to use to start a new month, year, term, semester, or season in your classroom?

Please share in the comments below, or join our Facebook group and tell us your stories there!  Your voice and ideas are important and valued. 

#Eyebombing

Using photography to create a catalog of beauty was a great way of practicing being present, mindful, and grateful.  It was also a nice exploration into looking at things from a different perspective and considering how shifting a vantage point might change one's experience with an idea, object, or person.  I have been looking for some project ideas to do more perspective-shifting work with my students, and, as fate would have it, the perfect one came through my Facebook feed: #eyebombing. Watch the video below to learn more about the fun concept.

I learned about #eyebombing when I happened upon an amazing HyperDoc assignment created by my friend, talented California educator, Lisa Highfill, based on a lesson idea by Adam Randall.  HyperDocs are a transformative way of using collaborative technology, such as Google Docs & Slides, to create blended classroom instruction and engage students in learning activities. Find out more about HyperDocs here, or by reading Lisa's phenomenal book, co-authored with Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis. This particular HyperDoc merged writing, photography, creativity and FUN!  You can view the HyperDoc here (you can make your own copy if you are logged into your Google account - please maintain credit to the original creators in any copy that is made), or scroll through the Slides embedded below to learn more!

What was extra exciting for me was the fact that in this assignment, perspective was addressed in two ways. First was the idea of looking for ordinary things and seeing how we could shift/add something to experience them in a completely different way - one that might create a moment of joy for ourselves and/or others.  The fact that the simple addition of two plastic eyes made us see the object completely differently than we did before adding them was powerful in terms of understanding perspective shift. Second was the idea of writing a story from the perspective of the #eyebombed character. It made us think beyond our own feelings and try to understand those of another - fictional as they may be.  These will be really great concepts to build upon in future lessons.

For less than $3 (thank goodness for craft store coupons!) I was able to purchase a package of 160 self-adhesive googly eyes. This gave each student in my class six eyeballs (three pairs of eyes) to use to create characters.  They worked in groups of 3 - each group having a camera to document their creations - and set off to #eyebomb our school.  (*Note: I did email my entire staff the day before and let them know what I was planning so that nobody was caught by surprise).  We explored different areas of the campus - inside and outside - and found so many fun ways to create "faces" on inanimate objects. The joy was palpable - everyone was giggling for two reasons: they were having a ton of fun creating their own #eyebombs and appreciating what their classmates were designing around them, and they were anticipating the smiles that would be brought to others' faces at recess when everyone came out of class and noticed the #eyebombs. It was a really enjoyable activity to be a part of and witness to.

Check out some of my favourite creations from the project in the gallery below. So awesome!  We are still working on writing and editing our stories in Google Docs, but I have no doubt that they will be as fun as the creations themselves!

If you are interested in #eyebombing, you can follow the hashtag or the user @eyebombing on Twitter.  You can also check out the website Eyebombing.com

Have you done any activities with your students that help explore the idea of looking at things from a different perspective?

Have you planned to create any moments of joy in your lessons and units this year?  

Please share in the comments below, or join our Facebook group and tell us your stories there!  Your voice and ideas are important and valued. Please share!

Addendum: Check out this amazing iteration of the HyperDoc that Gina Ripley created and shared out on Twitter after reading this post! Even better than the original!

Also, check out this great vlog from Darin Nakakihara highlighting how he did this project with his 4th graders, and a fun interview with Lisa Highfill as well!

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