Transform Your Class


I wanted to create a better environment in my classroom—one that had more buy-in from students.

John Christensen’s book, Fish, (modeled after Pike Place Fish Market located in Washington), became my starting point. Ironically, I had been to that market years before unaware it was known to millions. Ignoring the smell (I prefer boneless rib eye), I had to stop to see what the commotion was all about. The area was crowded rows deep with entertained onlookers. Employees were throwing fish orders high in the air into the hands of other workers to get wrapped. It was lively and loud! Laughter, fun, engaged workers! I can tell you, I left that place happier than when I arrived, and, years later, I remember fondly those 10 minutes I shared with a group of strangers in 2004.

How would it be, I thought, if I could get more enjoyment from my job? I took the four concepts of Fish and began a transformation in my classroom and with myself. I wanted to make changes that would have my students enjoy working more, and, selfishly, take away some of the strain and pressure I was feeling teaching in a middle school.

Most ideas don’t take a lot of creativity, just a bit of planning and the decision to give some a try. Every class, teacher, and situation is unique, but I am hopeful these 56 suggestions encourage you to make changes that will help you and your students have a more fulfilling and exciting year.