Pineapple Chart

Hack Learning -- Solving big problems with simple ideas

Teachers are constantly searching for new ideas, solutions to problems with classroom management, organization, and instruction. “I need to figure out how to get my students to understand this concept,” they say, or “I need to find someone who knows how to do ____.” Time and money for professional development are in short supply, and a direct line to great, free PD--our own teachers--is often ignored.

A Pineapple Chart is a systematic way to put a “welcome mat” out for all classrooms--a central message board that lets other teachers know that you’re doing something worth watching today, and if they’d like to come by, your door is open. The chart would be something like a dry-erase board, sectioned off with tape or wet-erase marker into days of the week and class periods. The board is kept near teacher mailboxes or some other high-traffic area for staff. Sign up and welcome visitors.

  1. Post your Pineapple Chart. Grab a sheet of notebook paper, poster paper, or even a dry-erase board you have lying around. Hang it up in a location where most teachers are likely to see it.
  2. Ask a key question. Across the top, write “What’s going on in your class today? What time will that be happening?”
  3. Recruit one or two teachers. Ask them to write down something interesting they are teaching that day—a topic, an activity, or a strategy—and what time of day they are doing it. If you are a teacher, you should be the first one to share!
  4. Send the word. Using an all-staff e-mail or an all-call on the P.A. system, announce to staff that this paper exists, that Ms. ______ is doing ______ in her room today and wel- comes visitors, and encourage other staff members to add their activities to y
  5. Recruit early adopters. For this to work, your school needs a team of enthusiastic participants to get things going.
  6. Encourage others to participate. After the first wave has passed, it may be necessary to gently push others to join in, even though participation should be optional. Show enthusiasm for the Pineapple Chart.
  7. Make room for reviews. Create time and space for teachers to share positive reviews of their visits.
  • Dry erase board, markers, butcher paper, pens
  • Teachers eager to share their creativity and strategy

Adapted from Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School (Times 10, 2015)


Since Hacking Education was published in July, 2015, the Pineapple Chart has been one of the most popular hacks. Let's face it; most teachers hate the professional development they face each school year. When you can walk freely into a colleague's room and observe something amazing, there's nothing better. It's free; it's user-friendly; it's low pressure. Thanks toJennifer Gonzalez for sharing this idea with me and the rest of the world.