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Laura Hill


Drop in on Laura Hill's sixth through eighth grade social studies classes at Tiller Middle School on a Friday, and you might find her students eating a treat related to a recent unit of study, sharing current events and grading one another, watching a video related to the week's curriculum, playing geopictionary, and more. That's because, in Hill's Morehead City, North Carolina, classroom, the last day of the work week isn't just another day, it's known as "Fun Friday."

"I've found that students work harder Monday through Thursday when they have Friday, and not just the weekend, to look forward to," Hill told Education World. "This is a fun way to end the week."

Several years ago, Hill was part of a team of teachers who were trying to come up with ways to motivate their students. They believed that, if the students worked and completed all their assignments during the first four days of the week, Friday could be a day in which learning could be geared more toward "fun." When she moved to another school, Hill carried the idea with her and applied it in her new classroom.

In order to participate in Fun Friday, students must have completed all their assignments for the week. When Fun Friday is a team activity, students must have finished the assignments from all their classes. Those who have not done so must work on their missing assignments during the event. Typically, one teacher supervises those students. Behavior and absences often are taken into account as well.

Hill's students have eaten "sand" made of vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, and whipped topping after a unit about deserts, and gobbled "oceans" of blue gelatin and gummy fish and sharks, but their favorite activity occurred after a study of North Carolina history. The students made state-shaped cookies and divided them into regions by decorating them with chocolate chips, icing, and colored sugar. Even their taste buds were on-task!

"Some students have said that they knew they would always remember the regions of North Carolina because dividing them on a cookie and then eating the cookie was a sure way to help them remember," reported Hill. "At least in part because of Fun Friday, one of my former students told another teacher that I know how to make learning fun."

Hill introduces Fun Friday at the beginning of the school year, before any frustration builds due to incomplete homework, class work, and projects. She suggests that it can be tailored to meet the specifications of any classroom and teacher.

"Fun Friday can be very rewarding, and it helps students understand how important it is to get assignments done," said Hill. "Students need to know that on Friday there still is work to be done, but that it's different from the typical daily routine. I like Fun Friday as much as my students."

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If you're a teacher who has completed an interesting or unusual activity with your class -- or if you know of a teacher who has -- please let us know about it. E-mail a brief description of the activity, along with your contact information, to [email protected].

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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