Way back in 1956, Walt Disney gave an interview in which he talked about plussing his theme park, Disneyland. The idea was to constantly tinker to improve and grow what was possible in his theme park. Walt stressed the idea of plussing with his imagineers, often asking them to “plus” their ideas, to constantly make them better.
As educators, we must look to this idea of plussing to improve our classrooms and schools. What type of plussing can we do to make learning better every day? Try these simple strategies for plussing your classroom or school to improve learning for yourself and your students.
Addition by subtraction. Find the things that fill your day that are not making a difference for you or students. Eliminate those things. Free up some time in your day to do more meaningful things. For example, are students busy doing worksheets or popcorn reading. If so, find other activities that will provide more meaning for students.
Make time to meet with students. We all know the importance of establishing relationships by engaging in conversation with students. Find time during the day to plus your relationships with students. Whether it’s a lunch bunch where you eat with selected students, or a conference time during independent reading, find time to learn about students and their interests and passions.
Questions should be plussed. Students and teachers are not asking enough higher level thinking questions. Try to incorporate more deep thinking questions into your classroom. Take the time to write down these questions. Make a stack of cards with HOT (Higher Order Thinking) questions, and refer to them throughout the week. Script the important questions you want to ask during a particular lesson.
Enjoy PPL (Plussed Professional Learning)! Students need you to become a better learner in order to become better learners themselves. Commit to learning something new to help your students. Spend 10 minutes a day seeking new instructional strategies via Twitter. Join a Voxer group to discuss ways to improve your leadership abilities. Find a good book to improve your craft. (Try these: Hacking Assessment, Daring Greatly, or Brain Storm)
Take a lesson from Walt Disney and consider all of the different ways that you can plus your classroom. Consider simple changes that can make a big difference for you and your students. What other strategies or ideas can you share for plussing in your classroom? Leave your best ideas in the comments section below.
Be Our Guest by Theodore Kinni