Saturday, August 2, 2014


The Answer is 12,960 Hours
What is the Question?

Leveraging time has got to rank in the top three high-yield strategiesregardless of context. I remember watching a demonstration of a life clock on Oprah. On the grim reaper side it was a bit creepy to see how many remaining minutes of your life statistically are left. I suppose the non-techie version would be the Medicaid tables :)  Seriously, we all know how fast time slips away, but unfortunately our students don’t (get how time slips by).

So here’s my question I would like to explore: What can teachers do to teach students to value their time and to build a sense of urgency within the students? 

       No pun intended, but this is going to take some time to figure outsince getting kids to value time and having (any kind of) a sense of urgency is the BIG goal of all teachers. We want students to use their time wisely in class. We’re not so much talking behavior management as much as having them authentically develop and hone a life skill. Why? To make their lives better.

FIRST, let's start by answering how much classroom learning time students have--give or take. The table came from my book, Unharnessing Student Power: Building Grit. The estimate of 6 hours was just that--an estimate.

How Much Time Do Our Students Really Have?
                               Days in one school year = 180 days

                              Hours in classroom for one school day = 6 hrs*

Hours in classroom for one school year = 1080 hrs

   TOTAL HOURS spent in classroom = 12,960 hrs**

                                                 I took off an hour for lunch and breaks
**Not counting preschool, kindergarten, lunch, or absences

At the end of year total
hours spent

 Total learning time
 left at the end of year
First Grade
     1,080 hours
11,880 hours
Second Grade
     2,160 hours
10,800 hours
Third Grade
     3,240 hours
9,720 hours
Fourth Grade
     4,320 hours
8,640 hours
Fifth Grade
     5,400 hours
7,560 hours
Sixth Grade
     6,480 hours
6,480 hours
Seventh Grade
     7,560 hours
7,560 hours
Eighth Grade
     8,640 hours
4,320 hours
Ninth Grade
     9,720 hours
3,240 hours
Tenth Grade
   10,800 hours
2,160 hours
Eleventh Grade
   11,880 hours
1,080 hours
Twelfth  Grade
   12,960 hours

      The funny thing about data is that it allows us a different perspective. When I was being ornery back in 8th and 9th grade, I could have used this reality check. Letting the students know how much time they have (or not) seems like a good place to start. For most grade levels all or parts of this table could be calculated by students. Hmmm... the questions are pretty straightforward.

How many hours have you been in school so far?
How many hours of classroom time before you            

As follow up to this particular lesson, students write and              answer:

What did you gain from your 1,080 hours last year?
What do you expect gain from your 1,080 hours this           year?

Once students see how quickly their opportunities diminish, in terms of school learning time, they need to realize that HOW they use their classroom time is completely within their area of control. Consider the following as a follow up activity: 

       What are the things in life you can, you partially can,         and you cannot control? 

This can be easily done by students using a double circle map, a tree-map, or a Venn. Answering these questions would make for a rich collaborative activity based on the discussion and debate generated.  In addition, the activity naturally segues into a mini unit on goal setting.

I would like to add one more thing which I think is the most critical part of today's post. We must be REAL with our kids in these types of lessons. By that I mean, we need to disclose our own failed attempts and struggles with managing our time. Isn't this one of our life-long battles?  

       I could go on, but instead, watch for many more ideas on building a sense of urgency with our students in the weeks to come. Finally, I would love to know How you create a sense of urgency in your classroom? Please share in the comment section below.

As always, I want to thank you for stopping by. I really appreciate your time. I know many of you are gearing up. Beginnings are always so exciting. Wishing you a
 Happy Saturday.              

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