Last week I asked my students to blog about what they would change if they had invented school. While some may think their answers predictable, I think they offer valid suggestions as we move forward in our educational reform.
- More Recess – while easily dismissed as impossible, I think that this being the top response shows that students need more breaks during instruction. I do sometimes provide an extra recess if the weather is nice, but often there simply is not time for a full recess experience. What I can do on a regular basis, though, is to give them partner talk time, free choice for a couple of minutes or even just shift activities more often. Anything to offer them some chance for movement and resetting of their brains.
- 4 Day School Week – It was not that students wanted less time in school, in fact, they suggested longer school days so that they could have 3 days off to be with their family. I have discussed how much I value family time myself so I can understand the time to just be a kid and to let all of the new information sink in.
- Allow electronics. After a recent lunch with my students I was not surprised to hear that most of them had received an Ipod Touch or something similar for Christmas. I believe, as many do, that the way of the future will be students supplying personal electronic devices alongside schools. What a great way to incorporate known tools into our learning environment.
- More choices. Whether it be choosing your teacher, your room, your learning partner, or just the project, students were begging for more choices in their day. While I feel my school allows students many choices, this was a great reminder to constantly challenge myself to offer more choices than I perhaps have felt comfortable doing in the past.
- More fun. Students wanted to play more math games, chew bubble gum, have lunch with their teachers, play more in the room and just be more creative overall.
What do you think your students would make their priority? Is there a way to incorporate ideas from this into your room? I am certainly trying to. If you would like to see their full responses, visit our kidblog and leave them a comment or two.