Plans. Lots of a teacher’s time is spent on planning…curriculum planning, unit planning, lesson planning. Having a “map” or a “guide” is important to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Yet the best moments in my teaching career have been the unplanned ones. This year, I will never forget the unplanned Scattegories moment. Valentine’s Day was in the air and so was the smell of cupcakes and sweet treats. Students were excited they would get some free-time to share and eat these goodies, when suddenly, I gave an instruction: “During this free time as you enjoy your treats, find friends to play a board game with.” Some faces lit up, others looked bewildered. As usual, my rebellious boys decided to ignore these instructions, walking around the room instead, with no particular end to their journey. I decided to step in and stop this pointless roaming. “Let’s go to the carpet and play Scattegories. Follow me.” You would have thought I had just told them they were about to take a horribly difficult test. Reluctantly, they sat in a circle and allowed me to explain the game. Slowly, very slowly, they seemed to be leaning forward a bit more as their interest was peaked. Changing the rules a bit, we selected our own categories and then we began. What followed was one of the most fun, challenging, and enriching moments I have experienced as a teacher. These boys got so in to the game, they did not want to stop. If we had a bird’s eye view of this moment, you would see me and four boys, sprawled on the carpet, intently filling out our categories sheets. We laughed, we complimented each other on our answers, we encouraged each other to not give up. It was amazing. Their pointless roaming around the classroom ended at the carpet and turned in to a competitive brain-game. The result of this unplanned moment? Students who felt good about themselves and a teacher who felt a bit more connected to these hard-to-reach boys. Unplanned moments…definitely necessary to balance the planned ones.