180 Days?

Karl Fisch of the Fischbowl, and the famous “Did You Know?” video that was remixed by my friend Dave Gray  and his colleagues at XPLANE, found another video by Barry Bachenheimer of a New Jersey school, that asks what we do with our 180 days of school.  I thought this was an interesting challenge, so I made my own.  The results you can see above.

As Karl and Barry both say on their websites — this is a conversation starter.  I think all of the elements of these days that we miss are important content, and we shouldn’t necessarily drop this content from our school year.  I do think that we need to have a conversation about how to use the time that we have left effectively, and how to consider ways of boosting the amount of instructional time we offer.

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  1. >I think the larger issue is not wasted days, but >how we use the days we have.

    Indeed. Now that I know how few of them I have, I’m likely to make better use of them.

    >I really liked your perspective from a private >boarding school. One would often think that >would be a place where less time is “wasted”.

    It’s easy to waste time almost anywhere, unfortunately. In some ways, boarding school kids are less motivated than public school kids. They see their parents’ wealth and prosperity, and think that things will always be this way. The current economic crisis is a real eye-opener for many of them.

    >What platform did you use to make your >movie?

    The layout and background and text is all done in Keynote, which has a recording option, and then a “Share to YouTube” function.

    >Again, nice job. I look forward to continuing >this conversation.

    I think it’s an important one. I’m going to add your blog to my blogroll in the next day or so.

  2. Andrew- Nicely done. I had that idea of the way we use days of school bouncing in my head for years. It took me seeing Karl’s famous “Did You Know” movie to see a simplistic yet compelling way to enumerate and share the idea via a movie. In my original cut, I used Crosby Still and Nash’s “Time We Have Wasted on The Way” as a background song. (I had to remove it because of YouTube rules, but if you own the song, plug it in and listen; the song is frighteningly well connected.)

    Much of what you and I both write is steeped in school tradition. For example, yearbooks or picture day. Certainly they are fun, if not memorable days for kids, yet is there any substantial educating going on? Probably not. Is that a bad thing? It probably depends on how all the other days are used. I think that if you are a teacher who uses every instructional day you have to its fullest potential, with rich discussion, inquiry, poignant questions, and engaging activities, then a “day off” once in a while for the list of activities is fine. However, if you are a marginal teacher whose classes are not those things on a regular basis, kids will suffer even more. Here is the analogy. If you eat a great diet of low fat meats, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains most of the time, an occasional slice of pizza or an ice cream is a nice treat and won;t do you much harm. However, if every day is burgers and fries, soda, and pizza, then an extra day of donuts will just increase the obesity and fat.

    I think the larger issue is not wasted days, but how we use the days we have.

    I really liked your perspctive froma private boarding school. One would often think that would be a place where less time is “wasted”.

    What platform did you use to make your movie?

    Again, nice job. I look forward to continuing this conversation.

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