At the same time they were engaged by the video and agreed that some things needed to change, one thing that kept being repeated was "We don't have enough time as it is", "There's not enough time in the school year". Or "We do too much already, how can we do more?". We talked with them about abandonment of traditional curriculum and lots of other topics. When I got home I got to think about how many of the 180 days of school are used for true instruction. Were their claims right? Do we really not have enough time, or is the time being used for things that don't lead to good instruction but have become "acceptable" or rather an "acceptable loss" in school culture.I thought this was a great idea, so of course I immediately stole . . . umm, remixed it for my school (with Barry's permission). Here is the PowerPoint customized for my school. Unfortunately, I'm not going to post the music (Wasted on the Way by Crosby, Stills and Nash). If you have access to that song, you can add it back in - it starts on the fourth slide. (For my staff, I'm putting a copy of this presentation with the music on the server - AHS Staff folder, then 21c folder). You should also click through to Barry's post to watch his original version.
In response to their thoughts . . . I made my own, called 180 days. I showed it to the class and reactions were mixed. All were engaged. Some said they wanted to share it with colleagues. Some said that the items mentioned were a necessary part of school. (Some shared that they show movies when they need a "break" or to "reward" kids.) I certainly over-emphasized the issue, but to make a point about how we use out time in school and how the "180 days" is thrown around quite loosely.
Now, before watching either one, let's be clear on a few things. First, just like all the presentations I've created (or borrowed), this is meant to be a conversation starter, not the final answer. Second, some of the numbers are simply estimates, your mileage may vary. Third, I am in no way implying that all of the items listed in this presentation are bad or unnecessary, far from it - many of them are very necessary (well, some of them I'm not very fond of, but many of them are okay). But I do think it's worth thinking about how many days we actually have for "instruction" and - as Barry says - how "loosely" we throw around the idea of 180 days of instruction per year. If all of our curricular decisions are based on an assumption about the number of days we have that might be inflated by as much as 50%, then maybe we need to look at that some more. In other words, it's worth having a conversation about and seeing if we should think about making some changes.