About one month ago, a teacher friend of mine posted a series of photos on her Facebook page about something she had learned about called “Flashlight Fridays.” I don’t know where she picked up the idea originally, but when I searched on Google, there was something in the range of 1.2 million hits. Now, obviously, most of these are probably not directly related to the concept, but there are plenty of blog posts out there about this concept.
So, what is Flashlight Friday? It is, in a nutshell, a period of time once a week for students to do their independent reading in a dark room with a flashlight instead of reading with the regular lights on. I saw my friend’s pictures and thought it was a great idea, but I wanted to make it something my students had to work toward.
At the same time, I also knew that I needed my class to increase their independent reading stamina so that I could more efficiently prepare for end of the year assessments. There are a lot of times in the coming six weeks that I will need to do one-on-one conferences with my students and I need to know that the rest of the class will be able to work independently while we do it.
So here’s what I did: I explained the concept of Flashlight Friday to my class and then set a goal: if they could read silently for a full 30 minutes, they would get to bring flashlights to class to read. For the first week, our numbers went up and down, but we reached our goal by the end of the week and so the students were able to experience their first Flashlight Friday!
Of course, there was one slight hiccup: most students forgot to bring their flashlights. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Our first Flashlight Friday, which was last week, was a success despite the general lack of flashlights! It turns out that Chromebook screens can be quite illuminating when necessary!