This survey explores some of the thoughts I have been having about how we organize and use time in the learning process. Traditionally, every class gets the same amount of time, meets each day, and has an equity share in homework allotment. But not all courses are created equal nor do they all have the same needs. Thus we need to explore and discuss time, and the strategic, scientific, thoughtful planning and allocating of it.
When looking at the time we have in the day to guide students in their learning, there are three major considerations that must be discussed. In doing so, traditional territorialism and need for equity need to be removed from the conversation in the name of doing what is BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS.
1) How long a block of time is really the right amount for different classes? The one size fits all approach of each class gets the same amount of time every day does not seem efficient considering learning needs in each course. Great work in the science lab requires longer blocks of time, while working with math concepts or a piece of short fiction does not require the same amount of time.
2) Frequency of meeting for the courses during the week. While math class may not need the same large block of time that science might, it does require the daily frequency of meeting times, whereas science may not.
3) Allocation of homework volume according to courses. Some courses require daily practice for students to grow towards mastery, while other courses develop mastery skills in the classroom environs rendering homework not as much a necessity. Or making the nature of the work different than how it is defined now (flipped classroom lecture/podcast viewing for homework, as an example).
If we consider these three elements in allocating and scheduling student learning time, and if we are innovative, thoughtful, and collaborative in our development, while also being patient and reflective in implementation and revision, we can offer our students a higher level experience that is also more efficient for their lives- leaving time for them to enjoy being kids and pursue outside interests and passions.
Key Questions in the Discussion:
- What are your classroom time needs? Using the 20-25 & 5 rule, how many blocks do you need a week? (25-5 rule considers that student’s attention, energy, and stamina for a lesson lasts about 25 minutes, which followed by a 5 minute “break” will allow a refocus on instruction/ activities).
- What are your frequency requirements? Do you need to meet every day?
- How many of your lessons can be completed in one block? How many do you hope to have all students master in a week?
- What is the nature of the homework you assign and what is the immediate and relevant purpose of the work you assign?
- What is most cherished for you and what are you willing to sacrifice to keep it/ get it?
- i.e I would sacrifice meeting every day so that I can have a 90 minute block 2 times a week
- I would sacrifice nightly homework for a double 25&5 block during the day
- I would sacrifice longer periods to meet every day and have a good chunk of homework time
- What else do we feel is integral to include in the daily schedule for our students to have the best social, physical, and academic experience while they are at school?
- 1X 25-5 30 minutes
- 2X25-5 50 minutes
- 3X25-5 85 minutes
Frequency of Meeting Times:
- Once daily
- Twice daily
- Every other day/twice weekly
Homework in Terms of Minutes