How can I give 20% of class time to my students to work on their own projects? How can I trust that they will actually be working? I can’t answer this last question other than they have to check in each week and they have something big to turn in at the end of the semester. Sometimes we have to extend the trust to receive the behavior we expect. I can say that it is easy to give 20% of time to the students when I see that the project will be beneficial to them in the long run. This project will help build critical thinking, creativity, independent learning, and so many other skills. How can I not have the students participate in 20Time.
I know that this doesn’t tell you what 20Time is though. The way that I understand it is that Google gives 20% percent of the work week to the employees to work on their own projects. This helps develop creativity and often great things such as gmail come from it. The employees are harder workers and the work is given better attention. It helps the employer to let the employees have time away from their usual activities to pursue something that they choose to work on.
In class, this translates to giving most of one class period a week for the students to work on something they would like to learn to do or to develop an idea. We start the semester out with an explanation and some brainstorming to come up with ideas. Then they must pitch their idea to the class in a Shark Tank fashion. The audience gets three colors to vote whether the student pitching is allowed to work on the proposed idea or not. The remainder of the semester is spent with them doing the work and learning. And it culminates in final presentations showing the work over the course of the semester, the documentation, and the lessons learned from the project.
Besides working on the projects they choose, they are learning about documentation, presentation, and speeches.
I got this idea from a high school ELA teacher on youtube, Laura Randazo. I liked her enthusiasm, the results she received, and it worked well with the concept of teaching I have of letting the students build their interests and creativity.
To help get the students on page I have chosen and started my own 20Time project. I will explain this in the next post.
I don’t know if I should appologize for the long absense or just jump right in on what I am doing now. I think the right thing to do is to catch you up a little and work on that appology.
The last few posts I wrote in 2020 were written with the intention of consistently writing and hiking on a weekly basis. That fell apart almost as quickly as I had written the promise. Like most of the world, Covid took me by surprise and greatly affected and changed my life. After several deaths of family members and close family friends, and after being stuck working from home, I fell into a hermit like funk. I wouldn’t call it depression because that would come later. The time I dedicated to my in-person students doubled or tripled. I avoided the computer if it wasn’t for work use. I quickly learned how to order my groceries and almost anything else I needed to avoid wearing the mask or going into public. I read so many homework posts that I even quit reading books for a time. We were all promised that this would be for a short time, but the time kept growing and friends an family kept dying. By the end of the summer, my job ended. Students didn’t want to go to college if they had to do it all online and teach themselves. I get it, it wasn’t an ideal situation for me either.
I quickly switched jobs and taught a modified version of high school. It was the perfect year to make that transition, only a third of the school population was on campus at a time. We had no discipline problems. But people kept dying. I just wanted 2020 to be over, as I’m sure most others did too. I knew that things wouldn’t magically be better because we entered a new year, but it felt like there were so many possibilities, a fresh slate. Twenty-twenty-one had different plans for me, however. My youngest cousin died, my dad got sick and died, my brother-in-law passed, and a close friend gave up her fight with cancer all in the first month of the year. My kids didn’t wan me calling any more because I always had bad news. As difficult as the year started, we were at least able to go on small tips to see family that we hadn’t seen as much as we had previously. But, now I was depressed. My life had been turned upside down. I couldn’t see relief or a change for the better. My life had turned into teaching and caring for my mother and brother, seeing my husband little, and doing things I loved even less.
Since our hike from Mt Hood to the Bridge of the Gods, Camazon, my daughter, had wanted to hike the Camino de Santiago for her 30th birthday. That is this year. In the summer of 2021, we began talking about it again and decided that we were going to do it. Planning and learning ensued. Now it is 2022, and I need to be in training. And what better thing to do than to start blogging again to help encourage myself, maybe even take better care of myself. In the coming weeks, I will explain what 20Time is and how it is helping me, my current health and fitness level, things we have learned about hiking the Camino, and my training milestones.
Thank you for being patient and not giving up on me.