When I started talking about designing and delivering professional development to students, I had no idea that I would be writing Blog Post 5 in this series whilst on hiatus from my #ScrapNotes series. As fate would have it, this blog post comes full circle as it inches us closer to the #ScrapNotes series… with a focus on bullet journaling. Before we go bonkers for bullet journaling, I really wanted to give you some background on how this session and this event came to be.
Fit as a Middle Schooler
I doubt many people would use the phrase “fit as a middle schooler” and that is kind of where this story began. Five years ago a nurse and/or CLT (Campus Leadership Team) noted that they were tired of all of the fast food lunches that parents were delivering to students. They wanted to create some health initiative with speakers that would talk to students about making healthy choices. Heather Schubert, librarian extraordinaire, had created and ran the Teen Book Festival here in Austin so she had experience with organizing an event of this nature. And the rest is history. This event is now running strong with a five year legacy.
Fit Beyond Fitness
This was my first year being involved in this event. And by involved… I mean… I led a course. As I have spent the last 4 blog posts focusing on student professional development, I did want to highlight some awesome things about this day as I was so enamored with the event:
- All Day: This is an all day event. The classes/sessions students attend are all related to Fit Fest (not typical curricular courses).
- Student Choice: Students used the Sched app to choose which sessions they wanted to attend.
- Variety: 3 Tracks (e.g. Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness) offered over 100 sessions for students to attend. Fitness courses ranged from warm-up drills and boxing to jazzercise, hip-hop, and yoga. Nutrition courses ranged from learning about food allergies and healthy substitutions to healthy after school snacks and smoothies for every mood. Wellness sessions ranged from meditation and concussion prevention to Bullet Journaling, CPR, and oral health.
- Community and Parental Involvement: Many local businesses that catered towards fitness, nutrition, and wellness offered sessions as did parents that had a background in health or wellness. Um… and did I mention there was a Farmer’s Market and a Field Day?
Fits Like a Journal
Yes, I realize I am stretching this idiom… but go with it. So… now that you have a better idea of the day’s events and focus. I am going to hone into the session that I delivered. Honestly, it will come as no surprise to you that I have been wanting to offer this session to students for some time. The crazy thing was… would anyone show up? Well interestingly enough I had 54 students spread across each one of my 4 30-minute sessions. It felt validating to see how interested students were in this process. As all middle school students have paper planners that they receive at the beginning of the year AND I only had 30 minutes with them… I decided to break up the 30 minutes like this:
- Pre-Survey: I provided a quick survey that asked why they chose this session and/or what they wanted to learn AND how they took notes (e.g. Handwriting on Paper, on iPad, Handwriting on iPad).
- Everything I Know… I Learned from Instagram: I had a brief slide deck that essentially gave the definition of bullet journaling and then showcased multiple examples of lists, reflections, and habit/goal trackers that were gleaned from all of the awesome peeps I follow on Instagram. As 30-40% of the students were also on Instagram, I mentioned a few #’s that I found helpful to locate people that are sharing examples.
- Journals and Trackers Exploration: But seriously… this is where the real fun began. As I couldn’t buy journals for all of them and we only had 30 minutes together, I wanted to give them the experience of setting up some of these features but in a condensed amount of time. So basically, I took a sheet of paper and then made copies of Christie Zimmer’s journaling prompts* and two habit/goal trackers from Passion Planner* (Water Tracker and Habit Tracker) and let them go to town to create a sample spread.
- Savvy Supplies: But wait there’s more. When I busted out fancy pens, planner stickers, and washi tape to use in conjunction with their sample page spreads… you would have thought I had just released a year’s supply of new SnapChat filters (or whatever is really cool right now). They absolutely loved it. As pens, stickers, and supplies can be costly and sometimes you don’t know what you like until you use it… I wanted to give students the ability to explore these tools before even considering spend money on them. And of course… you don’t need any of these things to bullet journal… but it is kind of like a cake. You can make a cake with icing and it is fine… but when you add the designs and the words and the fancy embellishments… sometimes it just makes you smile and part of the joy and process of bullet journaling is doing things and creating things make you feel good… that make you happy.
*I should mention that any time you print any of these proprietary items (even if you are using them with students or in a professional development setting) that you get written permission.
One could easily boil this whole session down to free time with arts and crafts but I think you have to dig deeper. My goals for students was multi-faceted:
- Introduce Bullet Journaling and Where to Learn More About It (using various #’s and sites)
- Expose Students to a Variety of Habit and Goal Trackers
- Expose Students to Journaling and Reflection that can Be Quick and Meaningful
- Allow Students to Engage with a Variety of Bullet Journaling Supplies
And what I found after reviewing the student pre-survey’s was truly enlightening. My description for the session was pretty basic but what I thought was interesting was the other reasons why students chose to attend (e.g. organization/plan/time management and how to take notes). These are clearly needs for our students… needs that I didn’t expect students to have when they chose to attend a session on bullet journaling… but needs nonetheless… which clearly means additional student professional development will be needed.
Okay whew… 1,000 words later and I am kind of winded. That about sums up it up. I am looking at offering another one of these sessions at the HS in December… so Stay Tuned. And my next blog post will return to my #ScrapNotes series and focus on all of the awesome peeps that I follow and the #’s that allow you to better discover and uncover these trends and ideas.
Figuring out Planners
I imagine a few of you are curious what the cost of running a session like this would be. There is some initial start up costs of purchasing washi tape and planner stickers (which are consumables). I suggest Michael’s for these and using your Tax Exempt info, a 40% off coupon, and your 15% teacher discount. Here is a link to some of the planner stickers I picked up at Michael’s. Pens tend to be expensive and the best place to find them is on Amazon (if you can wait for them to come in). These Sharpie Art Pens in a set of 12 are my favorite and they typically run $12-$13 on Amazon. My other fave is the Faber Castell Artist Pens with the Brush Tip – these typically run $13 for a set of 6 on Amazon. All in all I spent $75 (which included the $30 I spent on pens). The pens can be used over and over and I still have quite a bit of washi tape and stickers left over to do a session with our high schoolers. If you are interested in going head first down this rabbit hole, then I suggest you read “The Savvy Supply List” where I detail all of the products and how I use them. Oh OMT… I found these bullet journals in a clearance bin at Michael’s and ended up buying a few to give away as raffle prizes. Students LOVED them!
Before I leave you… I should also note that I plan on getting deeper into planners, trackers, and journaling in upcoming #ScrapNotes posts. This post was really designed to highlight student professional development and an easy entry point to the many facets of bullet journaling.
If you want to get a head start on all things #ScrapNotes before my next post… check out these 4 posts:
- #ScrapNotes 1: How to Begin Your Journey Down the Rabbit Hole (101)
- #ScrapNotes 2: The Complete Guide to Book Summaries (102)
- #ScrapNotes 3: The Complete Guide to PD Note-Taking (103)
- #ScrapNotes 4: The Savvy Supply List (104)
- #ScrapNotes 5: The Complete Guide to People, Ideas, and Inspiration (105)
- #ScrapNotes 6: The Complete Guide to Habit and Planning Trackers (106)
- #ScrapNotes 7: The Complete Guide to Planners (107)
- #ScrapNotes 8: The Complete Guide to Micro and Macro Lists (108)
Students Need PD too!
As you know, I am a firm believer that Students Need Professional Development too. My last few blog posts share some of the other initiatives I have been working on:
- iPad Base Camps for Students
- Note-taking Skills for Students
- Presentation Skills for Students
- Managing their Digital Lives: Tips for Students
Thanks so much for reading. If you do something similar or have questions on this initiative (or any other), please reply in the comments and share ideas as well!
WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?
If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email email@example.com.
And… Check out her latest creation… the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.”