Thursday, March 20, 2008

perks for third graders- slice of life day 18

I was thinking about Google today and their 20% free time policy. Is it really free? If you are working on new ideas are they automatically Google ideas? Does Google get to keep them? Does a person really get to work on their passion? Anyway, I want to have a Room 210 Free Time policy. I'm not sure if I can justify 20% free time yet, but I'm hoping to work this out. As I read a few vignettes about this free time perk I realized there are lots of opinions about this policy. (see first few sentences.) I do think it's important to have time to pursue what we want to pursue. I also think we can't release our minds from the routine of work to further develop creativity if we never practice it. A comment on a blog about the 20% free time policy that struck me:

20% slack time is scientifically proven to be useful, especially for knowledge workers. Knowledge workers (like software developers) tend to produce good quality code when they are in relaxed environment. Google's strategy would produce good ROI over a period of time.

What would the effect be if students (i.e. knowledge workers) were given a free time policy? I think we teachers have to give our students a chance to be self-learners. Isn't this what we are as adults? Don't we problem solve what we don't know everyday? Students won't become self-learners if they never get a chance to practice. I think a free time policy may help.


organized chaos said...

When I was in the classroom I had a 20 minute free choice time tied to my behavior plan and it was my favorite time all day. It was during that time I taught measurement and the kids actually understood it, because they came to me and asked for it. I had lots of boxes they could use to make into houses or cars, and lots of art supplies to encourage creativity and problem solving. In the beginning of the year it may have been a play-time, but it did not take very long for them to get into creating the pilgrims' log cabin, or using the math manipulatives to test their theories. The best teamwork occured during this time as well, because it was 100% natural. I wasn't pushing the kids into groups but they were forming naturally simply because the kids were all interested in the same project. I really miss the time and believe not only did it teach me about the kids' interest and help me decide how to approach our curriculum, but it helped form problem solvers and authentic learners. I love watching kids push their own learning. I supported it during the day by saying, "Let's think more about that during free choice!", or "Great idea! I wonder if you can show me that with the blocks during free choice!"
Great post!

Blink said...

OA- we are kindred spirits in this belief that children's exploring ideas and creating things on their own leads to pretty meaningful learning. I think it is because students are purely motivated! I have been pondering using morning meeting time for this with the rationale that it is a great way to be responsive to learning and social needs. Thanks for your comment. I am motivated!

GirlGriot said...

Oh, this is really something to think about (for myself as a worker and for my students). I'm not sure I could work a full 20% into the limited amount of time I have with my students (only 9 hours a week), but I definitely need to give this some thought. Thanks for putting this out there for me to think about!