Flipping Our End of Year Energy Part 2: Leading With Stories


I recently wrote Flipping Our End of Year Energy and I focused on the idea of running back to school at the beginning of the year rather than running out at the end.  (Don’t forget to tweet a selfie using #LeadLAP if you dare to to try it!) Discussing Lead Like a PIRATE with our principal is still my greatest end of year spark and I can’t wait to meet with her again soon!  There’s more, however, to my end of year story and in my last post I made a commitment to tell it.

Before a team of PIRATE teachers took a chance in the rain, an energy spread through the halls during those final days, moments, and even seconds.  I literally heard from colleagues, “We can’t wait next year!  We have to start right away!”  “We want to do that too!”  What if we all heard what I heard, felt the end of year energy oozing from the walls?  Students, staff, and administrators might just come back hungry for more.

On the last day of school in front of over 500 people, my principal took the mic and gave us her wisdom. “This is what happens when people share their passion and put their heads together.” Her words came directly after we played a video capturing our first ever cardboard arcade.  Although my year ended with fireworks, this post is dedicated to the blast of learning everyone got to see, just one hour before doors broke open for summer.

Those of you who have ever asked students to design their own cardboard arcade I’m sure have been inspired by none other than Caine’s Arcade.  If you haven’t, I highly recommend pausing this post and clicking on the link above!  Christopher Weiss also shared his school’s Global Cardboard Challenge, which helped students greatly to brainstorm and visualize their ideas.

Taking on this innovative project, however, brought a level of humanity I did not expect. The skills (soft as well as academic) it took to build functioning games were of course off the charts.  The energy, however, that naturally formed when families, teachers, and administrators came to play, provided a freedom for all to let go, be themselves, and have fun.  When you witness principals and directors laughing, hanging out, and even screaming with a joy students handed them, it’s almost an obligation to share it.

Check out our first ever third grade cardboard arcade!

A mission ignited by someone else’s journey ended with our own and our whole school was able to be a part of it.  As I was writing this post, I thought deeply about the power of immersing ourselves in the experiences of others.  In a conversation with Beth Houf, I was reminded of Lead Like a PIRATE’s philosophy on sharing our school story. Not only do students and staff become empowered, but so do those that watch.

Regardless of their age, when kids have a chance to see other kids doing amazing things, they want in and why wouldn’t they?  This is when every one of them should ask their teachers, “Can we do that?”  I believe we need to invite this question more often.  Too much good is being done in our world.  Why not find it, hand it to even our youngest students (or encourage them to hand it to us!), and give them a chance to make it theirs. This is exactly what my courageous colleagues and I did when we indeed shared our passions and put our heads together.

My next project is to write Part 3, revealing two more end of year sparks exploding with passion based learning; Student Edcamp and Genius Hour. Although not new to education, both were new to my building. Inspired by stories that transpired into our own, I can’t wait to hand them to our district and beyond.  This year, my hope is that students and colleagues will help me so together we can LEAD by capturing the awesome within our walls and creating an environment where this is the norm.

CHALLENGE- Capture a story in your school and share it so students, staff, and administrators (in your school and beyond!) run back every day, after every weekend, and most certainly after vacations!













One thought on “Flipping Our End of Year Energy Part 2: Leading With Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s