From Ordinary to Extraordinary Moments

“No ordinary moment” is a mantra I love. As a father, it reminds me that every moment can be one of love, respect, honor, and trust building. As a husband, it reminds me that every moment can be the beginning of a date, the holding of a hand, and a glance of gratitude. In the classroom, I have found this mantra for me has reminded me that anything is possible in any moment.

Consider the following: quite often it is the meeting after the meeting where the profound happens. For example, you have a staff meeting and it goes well. After the meeting, a group of teachers meet for a meal afterwards. It is often in these “ordinary’ moments, such as a meal, where individuals open up. The same can be said for our students at any age. Here are some suggestions which I have used successfully in transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

Lining up to go outside

The ongoing transitional moment where our students, especially our younger ones line up to go outside… ahhh, the energy which this ignites can be both a wonder to behold and mesmerizing in a scary/funny way! Here are some challenges I have posed to students in this setting to turn this both boring and/or out of control energy moment into a learning moment.

  • Who can get in line without touching anyone or anything?

  • Who can get in line in a random pattern?

  • Who can take the longest to get in line?

  • Who can get in line by only using a triangular pattern?

Lunch time

Lunch time, whether it be in an early childhood classroom or an elementary cafeteria can be extraordinary, but not always in a good way, lol! Here are some ideas I have seen used and used myself.

  • Use indirect lighting only

  • Put on slow early classical music

  • Put real flowers on each table

  • Use real napkins

  • Have the students serve themselves from communal serving dishes/bowls

  • Put butcher paper on the tables along with crayons and watch what happens

  • What up to each table and write out a musical equation like:

    • Whole note + half note = ?

    • Quarter note + quarter note = ?

    • Some may answer with a number and some with musical note.

    • For older students, you can make the equations more difficult.

What other moments can you transform? Perhaps the end of the day or any time of day by changing the physical set up of the classroom. Change the perspective, ask great questions, introduce your students to new concepts and cultures, sit back, and watch the curiosity turn into a love for learning.