Last Tuesday I had Lindsay Zilly, (@iCoachLindsay) Director of Professional Learning with the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (@ideaillinois) to the Kane County Regional Office of Education.  I had asked Lindsay to present an all day workshop on “Innovative Integration” to my instructional coaches networking group. Lindsay BLEW ME AWAY with so many amazing strategies and ways to implement each resource MEANINGFULLY with ALL stakeholders regardless of age (including adult learners) and device!!

While there were countless takeaways from the day of professional learning, one stuck out to me as practical, easy to implement and fun!  Lindsay used this activity as a “brain break” during the training, but could be used for so many academic applications (more on that later).  

Inspired by Jimmy Fallon, we did a little “Hashtag Humor”!!

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Best of Hashtags Photo: 2999678.” NBC,

Lindsay had a deck of cards at each table face down.  Each player draws a card and read the hashtag (#) outloud.  Then gave a brief experience that could be described by the selected hashtag (example – #firstdayofteaching, #teacherwin).  Clearly you see how this was a great brain break activity and led to many laughs and even some tears; however, think about how to implement this with students or staff for #PD.  

Maybe the hashtag could be a number and your students would come up with different ways to make the number, perhaps it is a vocabulary word that your students could tell the meaning for, or a hashtag of a time period that your students would need to state an event that took place during, to tie in the SEL component your hashtag could be an emotion that students could tell an experience in which they felt that emotion.  These are just a few ideas on how to implement this activity with students, but this would be a great activity for building leaders to use with their staff and/or leadership team even! Your hashtags could be leadership concepts, content related, topics to problem solve…the possibilities are endless and Lindsay definitely sparked some ideas as to how I, as a facilitator of #PD, can use this immediately!

So a huge shout out to Jimmy Fallon and Lindsay Zilly for inspiring my “Teaching Throughout The Year” hashtags!  I hope you find them helpful, heartwarming, and humorous!

#TEACHINGINJAN – Many of your students will be happier at school than they were on break because they have a routine, food, and a stable adult in their lives.  Be that adult! Teach the child first and content second.

#TEACHINGINFEB – Valentines Day!  Early-Elementary Teacher Hack: Have students leave the names off their valentines.  This way they don’t have to spend time finding which valentine belongs to who!

#TEACHINGINMARCH – Pump up your #Growthmindset discussions and activities it’s testing time!  “Smart is something you become, not something you are.”

#TEACHINGINAPRIL – The April showers are here, time to get up and move!  Here are a few fun “brain breaks” to get you through the 4:30 days (Days when it is dark and gloomy all day, no sun…looks like it is 4:30 all day) 

#TEACHINGINMAY – One of the most memorable activities I ever did with my class was creating a vegetable and flower garden in our school’s courtyard.  We donated the vegetables to a local food pantry. So many multidisciplinary activities, well worth the time and effort!

#TEACHINGINJUNE – For most of us, school is out.  But as a teacher we never stop learning.  I always spent June reflecting on the past year and focusing on one aspect of my day I want to really improve.  Then I found this awesome PD to support my goal. Looking for PD on your schedule? Check out Illinois Online Academy!

#TEACHINGINJULY – Enjoy some R & R with friends and Family!  This looks different for everyone, for me it is up early to go to the gym for a long run, home to wake my kiddo and grab some coffee before heading down to the boat for some early morning fishing.  After a few (successful) hours of fishing, going back to the house and packing up for a day of swimming, skiing, and tubing the day away on the boat!

#TEACHINGINAUG – Set up your classroom for success.  Time for some HGTV in the classroom.  Check out one of my very first blogs ever for ideas and inspiration!

#TEACHINGINSEPT – Got to share my first day of teaching EVER story – It was the first day of my career & I was teaching 1st grade.  One of my kiddos, came to me and said he didn’t feel good and puked ALL OVER me and my brand new first day of school outfit!!  Did I mention it was only 9:00am??? Great way to get welcomed into the profession.

#TEACHINGINOCT – How about a little Monster Mash??  October brings Halloween and often the first school party of the year.  Remember how exciting it was to be a kid? Allow the excitement in the air to overwhelm you too and join in the fun!  

#TEACHINGINNOV – Remind your students (everyday), in how you talk, act, and listen that you are thankful for them and that they are special!


I hope you enjoyed my :”Teaching Throughout the Year” Hashtag!  What creative ways will you incorporate Hashtags in your teaching?  Again, a HUGE thank you to Lindsay Zilly for inspiring me and others!



Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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