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Erin Klein's profile photoJennifer Lowton's profile photoStacey Greene Wicksall's profile photoRoberto Corsini's profile photo
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Great critique of a disjointed system that denies kids the opportunity to drop into a sense of flow. Even better than the critique is the solution.
 
Sounds familiar. ;) Great presentation that touches upon the thing most lacking in America's education system - trust.
 
Good stuff. Whoever decided 8- 40 min period/day was the best way to educate should get a swift kick. I think that we could do one 3.5 hour block a week for each class...one core class a day. They could come to school focused on that one subject, one set of goals. Put everything they need online to review or finish up at home.
 
+Paul Basta hit on a subject that the wife and I discussed last night! I We were debating the feasibility of public schools switching to one or two subjects each day (math or math/science on Monday - reading or reading/social studies on Tuesday), etc.
 
What is spurred in me was the idea, much like Cornally suggested, that mornings would be dedicated to the short study, or igniting, of core subject learnings. The afternoons, however, would be used to go deep into one or two of those core studies. Something about Medina's Brain Rules keeps coming to mind here.
 
Project / Problem-based learning would have to be the highlight of the day's lesson(s). Problem is that some teachers would lecture or do worksheets the whole time. When I casually ran the idea by my asst. principal, he said the kids would be bored by anything over 1.5 hours.
 
Perhaps the 1.5 hours is the reason for the 8-40 min period/day practice.
 
Without a doubt most would say the kids would be bored by that. It goes back to the "you do what you know" idea. We were, well most of us, all educated in the 40-55 minute model, and therefore we find it hard to imagine it looking different. However, there is another side to this, and you touched on it: the administration side. The back end planning, not in the arrangement of the student day, but rather in the creation of shared planning time and collaboration between teachers in various departments would be a huge undertaking, much more than one or two admins could do. This would be a huge philosophical shift for a school/district. But I'm game.
 
Kids need to have time to themselves within the class time to dig in deep and reflect immediately afterwards. Heck, time to ask the questions they need/want to. This is impossible with our schedule.
 
I too am game.

BONUS: A LOT less homework and more time getting to know the kids.
 
+Patrick Higgins +Paul Basta The kids being bored with 1.5 hours is bunk. The 40 minute model is based on Carnegie Units ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_Unit_and_Student_Hour ) and is in place to meet adult needs, not the needs of kids. We tossed the schedule out two years ago and let the teaching staff decide how to organize the schedule on a weekly basis. Essentially, we let people advocate for themselves rather than have the district tell them what they need ( http://re-school.org/2011/03/30/rejecting-the-sanctity-of-200-minutes/ ) We did no test prep and yet the kids in our program far outperformed the rest of the district. Check out slide 10 - http://www.slideshare.net/mritzius/the-integrated-studies-program
 
I am a teacher-librarian and I would welcome this philosophical shift that would allow for inquiry and problem based learning to take place with lots of time for flow and getting in the "zone" while spending chunks of this time in the library. Just contemplate the buzz of activity and excitement that could happen! Can you imagine how much students could do if guided by a core area teacher and a teacher-librarian while in a library? Using a variety of databases, becoming experts at using Google tools to search, becoming experts at evaluating websites, learning how to appropriately cite sources, synthesizing and evaluating ideas and information using the array of online tools available (going beyond power point and word docs), using social media to collaborate on group problem solving and, best of all, creating new knowledge that the librarian could even be supportive in sharing and publishing for real audiences! It couldn't get any better than that...unless of course you included a maker-bot/fab lab in the library to boot- oh yeah, that would be my idea of educational utopia. Learning would be an adventure for the kids, teachers and librarians- and isn't that the way it really ought to be?
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