Workplace: Everyone’s Space

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Because anything is possible when people work together

Workplace, a collaborative tool used to communicate within Klein ISD, is a digital resource breaking barriers and promoting learning experiences within our district. Imagine the possibilities when planning enriching experiences for our students!

I remember the day when my father, a high school art teacher in the early ’70s, loaded his students up in a couple of busses and drove 40 miles to the Carmel California Mission. There they spent the day by the beach sketching. Afterward, they dropped in for lunch with Ansel Adams and discussed elements of photography. Today, the cost for this quality experience…priceless. Workplace brings people and priceless experiences together within our district, all at the cost of ingenuity. If you can think it, try it, and invite others to experience it, learning together happens.

In my experience, it begins with, “What if…?”

Ms. Braune and Ms. Malo wearing their Haiku High Five Friday creation.

April 26th, 2019, our school planned, in lieu of Poem in Your Pocket day, Haiku High Five Day to celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth. At the beginning of this 2018-2019 school year, I began welcoming students in the morning by calling attention to their tee shirts, or what I refer to as “clothing billboards”–literacy advertising, words or icons on their clothing. Curious, I wondered if these children could read the words or understood what they were wearing–Abercrombie, California Republic, Unicorn, Beautiful. First, I asked, “What’s on your shirt?” Then I built up to, “Read me what is on your shirt.” I want the boys and girls to read and make connections. I now ask, “What book do we have in the library that promotes your shirt?” If the shirt reads, “Nike”, the student stops, thinks, replies, “Sports?” This prepared students for the Haiku High Five reading of shirts.

Ms. Malo enjoying High Five Haiku Friday and Field Day with Bernshausen Elementary families.

Due to weather, our Field Day was rescheduled to our Haiku High Five Friday, meaning the majority of shirts worn would be Field Day shirts. The planned literacy goal for our poetry event included students and teachers creating their own haiku, putting it on a shirt for others to read, then high-five those who read it aloud. There is power in hearing their haiku read aloud by others.

I improvised. I decided to take Haiku High Five Day out on the field and celebrate with students and families. Students waited for their turn in line with parents. With an already energetic and captive audience, 3rd through 5th graders, along with their families, read my tee shirt. Together we high-fived following through the next fun activity. Parents loved it!

Schultz Elementary School librarian, Ms. Jen Malo, reading a poem to Bernshausen Elementary students.

“What if…” I thought, “I reached out using Workplace to my library community and asked librarians and students around Klein ISD to celebrate with us?” Virtual high fives!

Sending out the invitation, a clarion call to librarians, teachers, administrators and friends working at the TLC, within minutes our students received welcoming cheers and high fives after explaining our poetry celebration. Klein Cain, Kleb Intermediate, Schultz, Kaiser, Benignus (to mention a few) spanned grade levels, broke barriers of commuting across town, and bonded students together. Workplace…anything is possible with Workplace. Even sharing poetry!

Whether you’re serving within the district as a teacher, Special Education resource, multilingual specialist, librarian, nurse, counselor or administrator, how will you rethink Workplace as an invitation waiting for your students to experience?