This post was written by Michele Haiken, a middle school English teacher at Rye Middle School in Rye, NY and adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. She is the author of three ISTE titles, New Realms for Writing: Inspire Student Expression with Digital Age Formats was published in 2019. Follow her on Peloton at @Spinismygame, Instagram at @teaching_factor and check out her blog The Teaching Factor.
Peloton is a fitness powerhouse brand. It started with a bike connected to a monitor back in 2012 and now has expanded its equipment, subscription fitness classes, and apparel business into a successful lifestyle brand. Whether you are one of the multi-million passionate users or not, educators can take lessons from Peloton’s business model and the fitness instructors themselves in order to spread happiness and deep learning into our classrooms remotely and in person.
Our job as teachers is to inspire and lead our students to success. Playlists, choice boards and HyperDocs are part of the blended learning model that help create active student learner opportunities. We can use our playlists and HyperDocs like Peloton instructors to personalize, connect, and embrace our community members - our students.
Here are four tips for building Peloton style choice boards
1. Create thought provoking learning experiences
Instructor: Ally Love
Ally Love (@allymisslove) is one of the most diverse instructors in her music and classes. She is “thoughtful, thorough, and tough.” My favorite classes are her “Sunday’s With Love” because she states, “it is about movement that is thought provoking.” Her motto is “if it is hard - good.”
As teachers we want to create learning experiences that are thought provoking and thorough. When designing your playlist or choice board choose thematic activities that get students thinking like Ally Love. Create learning opportunities that allow students to explore, reflect, and dig deep into a topic.
Check out this HyperDoc created for the Centennial of the 19th Amendment that provides students opportunities for students to listen, view, and learn about a topic so they can evaluate and reflect on how this information impacts the decisions and actions they make today.
2. Learn to lean into the discomfort
Instructor: Tunde Oyeneyin
Tunde Oyeneyin (@tune2tunde) is one of the newer instructors for spinning and her “Speak Up Ride” on June 3, 2020 is a must for everyone as it reflects on our turbulent times today. Tunde wants you to “lean into the discomfort” as she speaks up and out about racism, white privilege, and moving forward together. This ride is so powerful, I want to emulate powerful lessons that are grounded in our everyday lives like her. Another thing about Tunde’s rides is that she talks about her 70 pound weight loss and how she did it in micro-steps.
Many of our students come into our classrooms looking to make giant leaps in reading, writing, and thinking. Tunde reminds her riders that if we want to see growth, every baby step we make will lead to bigger gains. When curating your playlist, provide smaller steps for everyone to reach success. Moving from point A to point B might require some students to choose one path and another student go a different route.
Choice boards can be simplified for students by the number of selections and modifications in order to accommodate diverse learning styles, needs, interests, and skills. Choice is important. On this Dystopian playlist there are required tasks and then a few added opportunities for students to level up if they choose.
3. Set your students up for success.
Instructors: Cody Rigsby and Jess King
Speaking of modifications and scaffolding, Cody Rigsby (@codyrigsby) and Jess King @jesskingnyc) will tell you that they are “setting up for success.” Teachers need to do the same for students, set students up for success and modify with no pressure. Additionally, Jess and Cody always bring fun and surprise to each class. The popular songs these instructors include on their playlists set the pace for the class.
Take cues from Cody and Jess by adding a little fun and games to your playlist with VR field trips, Kahoots, and collaborative activities. Peloton has started introducing rides that couple instructors together for double the engagement - learning is not an isolated event or experience and when we are designing choice boards and playlists, don’t leave out collaborative opportunities.
This vocabulary HyperDoc was created for teachers to help understand the role of vocabulary in content area classrooms. After teachers were able to explore and reflect, they collaborated to create a product to share with the whole group their new understanding.
4. Offer activities that honor student voice and agency
Instructor: Christine D'Ercole
Christine D'Ercole’s (@iamicaniwillido) catchphrase is, “I am. I can. I will. I do.”-- Enough said. Christine is a pro track cyclist who is all about changing your inner monologue and empowering you to love yourself. Many of her rides she will tell you “it is not about the leaderboard or the numbers, but the fact that you are here.” I associate this with number and letter grades because so many of our students use number and letter grades to define who they are.
Christine reminds riders not to focus on the numbers. Similarly, let’s move away from too many tasks that distract from real learning. Offer activities that honor student voice and agency. This poetry playlist allows students to choose which assignments they want to complete. Students are empowered when they are given choice and know their voice will be heard.
These are only a few of the teachers you will meet through Peloton, there are so many others who are just as awesome and provide engaging opportunities both physically and mentally. Peloton’s recipe for success comes from its instructors and the Peloton community. We all get on our bikes and treads for different reasons but our instructors have us coming back for more.
As teachers we are committed to our students, building a safe classroom community where students come back because they are engaged, empowered, and inspired. Like Peloton, we can create opportunities for our students to discover their true potential through the power of playlists and blended learning opportunities.