I feel strongly about how time is spent in my classroom. We have two hours every morning for language arts (reading and writing), fifteen to twenty minutes each day for our calendar math, and an hour for math. In addition, I make sure we have twenty to thirty minutes for free choice.
While kindergartners have 'center' time everyday to play, first graders are not expected to do so. I have a whole host of reasons for including this in our day which I will not go into here. Several teammates have remarked that they wish they could figure out how to include this in their days.
My feeling is that we make time for what we value.
However, I've recently been mulling this over some more. My thinking now is that how much time we spend on something is only part of the question. The quality of that time is equally, if not more, important.
Which is not to say that time is irrelevant. But we could spend two hours on math each day and if we don't use that time well then it doesn't really matter. Contrary to what so many (Bill Gates, Jay Mathews, Arne Duncan, etc) believe, our school days are plenty long. We just need to be using our time better, much better.
I totally agree with everything you just said! Brava for reminding us to keep the end in mind and what we want for our students!
If there is a passion in the teacher then he/she will find a way to work in what they are passionate about. Students pick up on that passion and in turn become passionate about the activity/activities!
I am sure your students look forward to coming to school and view learning as an engaging active process. Not to mention the benefits they get from being able to mentor, mimic, and explain how they do something to their peers in a center!
Jenea, During my first semester of college I took a Mozart course. The professor teaching it (who was also my piano teacher) clearly adored Mozart. My love of Mozart comes directly from that. I think we highly underestimate the power of passion.
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