Flex Fridays
Joseph Lovett Elementary School

Flex Fridays feature interactive projects and activities around content that may not fit into the planned curriculum but are based on topics of interest for students. Many Flex Friday activities are created, planned and taught by the students themselves.
Created for educators. By educators.
"We thought personalized learning was simply using technology, that we would get really great software and some data and that would be it… But I found out that this is much more than technology… We started seeing that personalized learning happens anytime, anywhere. We started learning that this is all about the kids—it’s about the kids being learner led and learner focused.”
Samantha Rapson
Assistant Principal
"As far as Flex Friday goes, we want to give students the opportunity to do something that they may not see during their academic day throughout the week, that can be in a controlled environment… having the kids have an opportunity that’s not conventional and confined to our normal classroom… They show you what they’ve done in Flex Friday and the products are phenomenal. Kids are doing things that I never expected them to be doing this early… These kids are proud of their projects; they want to display them.”
Steve McWade
About Joseph Lovett Elementary
A Chicago Public Schools Neighborhood School
  • 82%African American
  • 16% Hispanic
  • 0.3% White
  • 1% Other
  • 94% Low Income
  • 13% Diverse Learners
  • 6% English Leaners
  • 20% Mobility*

How Flex Fridays Work in Mr. McWade’s Class

Step 1.
Learner / Balance individual needs with the needs of the class community

Consider individual student interests when planning learning experiences: As teachers develop activities for Flex Friday, they consider individual student interests and the needs of the class community. They determine skills that will meet class needs, and then incorporate those skills into experiences focused
on student interests.

Step 2.
Learner / Position the teacher’s role based on the learning needs of students

Provide opportunities for students to create and facilitate learning experiences for their peers: Flex Friday evolved from teacher-led to student-led. Now, students take ownership of creating the content and learning experiences for their peers. When students take the lead, teachers shift their role to mentor and coach students as they develop their own lessons.

Step 3.
Learner / Regularly solicit and compile information regarding learners’ interests, strengths and needs

Regularly ask students what they are interested in learning: Flex Friday is experiential learning based on student interests. Teachers use a variety of methods to determine what students are interested in learning, such as polls, student conferences and peace circle questions. Many activities change each Friday, so students have a variety of experiences from which to choose.

Step 4.
Learner / Partner with learners to continuously align learning opportunities with learners’ interests, strengths and needs

Discover and ignite passions and talents of all students: When many of his students expressed interest in learning a second language, Mr. McWade strategically encouraged and involved two students who were commonly reluctant to engage in class discussion. The opportunity to teach their peers revealed a more confident side of these students who thrived in sharing their strengths.

Step 5.
Learner / Partner with learners to reflect upon and document their own learning needs and progress

Provide an opportunity for students to share or present what they’ve learned: After Flex Friday, teachers provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning and share it with their peers. Students post on Google classroom or present their projects to the class.