‘Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.’
Here is the video:
One of the more interesting 30 Day Challenges that Matt Cutts has undertaken was to record a second of video every day.
He says he was inspired by Cesar Kuriyama’s wonderful TED talk about how he records a second of video every day.
Why A 30 Day Challenge?
I once read that 30 days is enough time to embed a new habit that you want to incorporate into your daily life, or even to remove a bad habit impacting negatively on you.
The good thing with the 30 Day Challenge is that you are only committing yourself to try something new for 30 days – a manageable amount of time.
The important thing is that you find time every single day over the course of 30 days to devote to whatever challenge you choose.
The amount of time will depend on the challenge you set yourself. Maybe begin with something that is not going to eat into your already busy day.
A 30 Day Challenge For Teachers
Here is a list of ten challenges that you might want have a look at and maybe try one of them for 30 days.
1. A Second of Video Every Day of Your Classroom
This is picking up on Matt Cutts idea of a second of video every day.
It doesn’t have to be a second, it could be slightly longer. The idea is that it is simply a short burst of video taken with your smartphone once a day highlighting an activity taking place in your classroom or in your school.
Imagine playing the resulting video back to your class after 30 days to see what memories it evokes from them.
2. Take One Photo A Day of People Around Your School
It might be colleagues, visitors to the school, children, parents, helpers. In fact, it could be anyone you come across ding something unusual, funny, helpful – you get the idea.
What a great collage this would make after 30 days or a series of pictures on a loop on a PowerPoint presentation.
3. Record A Snatch of Conversation Every Day In Your Classroom
Keep it as short as possible and as natural as possible – in other words, you need to be ready to eavesdrop on your children’s conversations as they go about their work.
The joy of smartphones is that this is an easy thing to capture. In terms of putting your different snippets of conversation together after 30 days then try using Audacity. It’s a great sound editor and is free!
4. Talk To All your Colleagues Every Day
Make a point of finding all of your colleagues every day and having a chat with them. If you are in a big school this might take some doing.
Quite often we can get to the end of a busy day or even a busy week and realise there are people we have not even said hello to.
5. Share A Different Idea Every Day
Go out of your way to find a different teaching idea or tip and pin it up on the noticeboard in the staffroom every day.
This might be something you have tried that has worked well in your classroom or simply an idea you have come across on the internet or picked up from a colleague.
Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas. This site ‘Teaching Ideas’ has over 8,000 pins and more than 418,000 followers. There’s bound to be something there you can share!
6. Keep A Daily Journal
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by bad days and go home remembering the one thing that went wrong and forgetting about all the good moments.
A suggested way to combat this is to keep a journal.
Every night, challenge yourself to write down three things that went well or that you enjoyed or made you smile that day.
At the end of your 30-day challenge, you will have a list of 90 positive moments for that month that you can look back at and feel good about. Sounds like the sort of book you would want to read again and again!
7. Sneak More Exercise Into Each Day
Every day, for 30 days, look for ways to build in some exercise.
It might be as simple as walking around the perimeter of the school grounds three or four times every lunchtime.
Or take your class out every day, come rain or shine, for a ten-minute walk around the playground.
8. Perform A Random Act of Kindness Every Day
Being more selfless and giving of your time can be difficult when you have such a high pressured job as teaching that seems to eat into every waking moment. Finding time to be kind to others can be a strain.
This challenge is to be aware every day of how you might randomly show someone an act of kindness. Here are some possible ways you might do this:
- Let people merge in front of you in busy traffic.
- Send someone a postcard or letter by snail mail.
- Hug someone who is having a bad day.
- Write a happy message on the playground in chalk.
- Volunteer to do someone’s playground duty.
- Clean up the staffroom and wash the mugs.
- Say thank you to the cleaners.
- Put some flowers in the staffroom.
- Go through your cupboards at home and donate something you’ve not used for a year.
- Donate food to the local food bank.
… and so the list could go on.
9. Learn One New Word Every Day
There are lots of sites on the web that will show you a new word every day. This one is just an example.
There are even apps that that will deliver a new word to your mobile phone every day.
As well as learning a new word every day you could also set yourself the challenge of using that word in conversation sometime during that day. Maybe get the children in your class to guess when you have used your new word.
This website not only gives you a new word every day but also its definition, how it might be used in a sentence and the word’s origins. All great to share with your class.
10. Watch A Different TED Video Every Day
TED videos cover all aspect of life and are well worth watching.
Our all-time favourite is a talk by Sir Ken Robinson called ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’
Just browsing the TED page throws up some intriguing titles that make you want to spend some time listening to, such as:
- How To Gain Control of Your Free Time
- The Linguistic Genius of Babies
- Are We In Control of Our Own Decisions?
- The Puzzle of Motivation
Then there is the TED-Ed project which “makes short video lessons worth sharing, aimed at educators and students. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of lessons, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which are collaborations between educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform.”
We hope this post gives you something to think about. If you do take on a 30-day challenge we would love to hear how you got on with it. Leave your comments below and good luck.
Mike and David – Goodeyedeers