To understand Fun Friday, you need to truly appreciate what Friday means. Why are Fridays so exciting? Good things happen on Fridays. It often means good food, fun with friends, and the glimmering promise of some extra sleep coming for you. I have one friend who orders the same meal with her husband every Friday night. I know another family who has a standing family movie night on Fridays. There is just something magical about a Friday and you know your students feel that as well. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed sharing my love for Fridays with my students, and today, I’m sharing some of my favorites.
Our classroom motto is usually something along the lines of, “Work hard, play hard.” School is a place for serious learning, but we also can’t take ourselves seriously all the time. Similar to the ever-popular #feetupfriday movement for teachers, Fridays are a time to celebrate the kids’ hard work and let loose a little.
Fun Friday To-Do #1: FriYAY awards
I love, love, LOVE this tradition and it still makes me so excited even after years of doing it. Every Friday morning, we roll out the red carpet (no, I’m serious) and I emcee the most exciting event of the week: Our FriYAY awards ceremony. I have about 30 awards I choose from weekly, and award anywhere from 5-8 awards per ceremony. Of course I do my best to keep things equitable, making sure each student receives a similar number of awards with similar frequency every year; but my favorite thing about these awards is that they are so darn well-earned.
I use Google Keep to quickly write down a student’s accomplishment during the week, because I want those awards to be authentic and meaningful. As a class, we have some weeks that are better or worse than other, and I try to keep it real. I never give an award just to give one. With so many options, there are always ones that fit. Some of my favorites are Little Mr. Sunshine, Stick to It, and Golden Pencil award.
If you’d like a free Friyay Awards backdrop for your whiteboard, click the image below or here!
Fun Friday To-Do #2: Down Under Day
This one is so simple that it seem silly, but every Friday, we implement a bit of Down Under Day during which kids get to…sit under their desks. I KNOW. It’s the little things. But seriously: whether the kids are reading, writing, eating snack, etc., everything seems more fun under your desk.
Fun Friday To-Do #3: Fun Friday Stations
One of the best ideas to ever enter my classroom doors. All thanks to Kristin from Teeny Tiny Teacher, Fun Friday is a time we all look forward to. Depending on the day, we spend 20-30 minutes engaged in free choice activities and games. Using Fun Friday cards [grab them here!] I’ll typically arrange 8-10 activities on the pocket chart, along with the number of students allowed at each activity. Students will gather on the carpet and I will call students one by one to place their picture or name card next to the activity they want to do. Some weeks, I will call the students starting with the most number of Class Dojo points earned. Other weeks, I’ll pick their names randomly. I like to switch it up so the same kids aren’t always picking first, and let’s be honest—no matter the choices we made all week, everyone works hard in their own way and deserves a Fun Friday.
It’s honestly like a bonus indoor recess, and even though a lot of activities are available to them at other times, there is something magical about being able to choose the one you do.
You can also check out the Idea List I created on Amazon with all of my most favorite Fun Friday items!
Fun Friday To-Do #4: UnHomework Raffle
Gosh, I get giddy thinking about this one too. Every Friday, once my students have turned in their UnHomework raffle tickets, I do a drawing of 1-6 names for winners. We actually roll a die before the drawing to determine the number of winners for that week. I hang the prize chart so kids can look at it as a class; prizes are changed weekly, so this is always an exciting reveal. Once winners are drawn, each winner rolls the die to determine the prize he or she will get. Some are super simple, like a prize from the treasure box, while others are the win of a lifetime–like lunch with the teacher and 2 friends. I love seeing the kids get excited for this and to realize it is a direct result of their hard work and responsibility. You can read more about UnHomework here.
Fun Friday To-Do #5: Clean Desks
Ya’ll, kids love cleaning out their desks. I’m not sure why, but my kids go crazy for it every time. It makes my Type A teacher heart smile. We try to do this weekly, and Fridays always seem like a good time to do it. I put the Class Dojo timer on the board and kids have about 10 minutes to take *every* single thing out of their desk. On top of their desk, they make a pile of trash, home, or keep at school.
While they clean, I circulate to answer the question of “Should I take this home or leave this here?” and to help those friends whose speed rivals that of an elderly turtle. Once students are done, they get a baby wipe to clean off the tops of their desks and their chairs and, naturally, they go nuts for this part. Kids who finish early can help friends who ask for help, or they can read a book.
Fun Friday To-Do #6: Whole Group Fun + Games
Our Friday math block is one of my favorite times all week. Students take their fluency checks (1-minute math fact assessments) and we celebrate students who are graduating to the next level of facts. We fill in stars on this fluency board for each student who is progressing.
Fluency meetings-small groups meeting with me to review fluency check outcomes-take place of small group instruction. During this time, other students engage in regular math stations; HOWEVER, when fluency meetings are finished, we shut down shop and get to playing. Our favorite has always been Knockout, although some weeks we will break out a Bingo game. My classes have always begged to play Knockout every single day (no exaggeration), so it is always a treat when they can count on a game or two every Friday morning.
Click the image below for a FREE Knockout game!