Today’s faculty meeting started outside. In The Gaga Pit. Yup, you heard it right, our 90 minute faculty meeting started outside in The Gaga Pit.
Our PTA had worked tirelessly last year to raise money to install a new playground. Over the summer, the fruits of their labor appeared in our school’s backyard. During our opening days in August, we actually spent time out on the playground, learning how the equipment could be used by kids…and adults! So it was only fitting that when The Gaga Pit was installed and the rules defined, that we, the supervisors, learn first hand how to play Gaga. Andrew, our PE teacher, shared the ins and outs of Gaga and of course, invited faculty to jump in and play.
I couldn’t resist, I had get in and play. There we were standing in the Gaga Pit waiting for Andrew to throw the soft orange ball in and yell “Play Gaga!”. Once he did, we were jumping to avoid the orange ball, bending to hit it hard enough to knock someone out, leaning to protect our knees and below. There was squealing and leaping and bending and reaching. There was laughing and smiles all around for those who played to learn and those who watched to learn. It was an energizing start to a 90 minute faculty meeting.
Today’s faculty started outside and ended inside playing Breakout Box. There was a box locked up tight with FOUR locks and we had to work together to attempt to get our Box open.
There were random QR codes hung up around the library. We had each had our team, our “family group” and a few laptops. As I listened to Eric our “more than a technology teacher, technology teacher” give the directions, I began to get a little nervous. I was ready to head back out to the Gaga Pit. I was surrounded by my colleagues and I knew that nine minds were better than one. For 44 minutes we worked together to find envelopes, decipher codes and attempt to unlock locks one at a time. In the end, with 60 seconds to spare, my team solved our Breakout Box. We hooted and howled when Carolyn and Betsy pulled that last lock open. It was 44 minutes of perseverance, conversation, and collaboration. The surprise success was cause for celebration and so was the prize from Beth, our principal – 15 minutes of coverage!
The 90 minutes flew by. The flew by because we were engaged, we were thinking. There was shared determination among my family. There were times when I felt I was an active participant and others when I was simply an active listener hoping to gain an idea that would lead to a new clue or code!
It wasn’t our ordinary faculty meeting, it was more. It was a meeting where I connected with my colleagues in play and discovery. It was a faculty meeting like no other.