This week I started researching how I am going to incorporate the 20time project into my second grade classroom – more information on the 20time project here. Before I started reading the book, “The 20time Project” by Kevin Brookhouser I was very apprehensive about how it would look in the primary grades. How would my students react to being able to study something they enjoy? How would I successfully guide them in doing so? I decided I can no longer dwell on how it is going to “look” but I just need to dive in and see where it takes me. After all, this is my 20% project too.
One of the main points I have taken away from the “The 20time Project” thus far is that education is changing and we as teachers need to believe in the change. Kevin Brookhouser states, “Traditional education teaches students to solve problems for which we know the solutions. To do so, we teachers primarily use extrinsic motivators-rewards and punishments- in the form of grades.” This really struck me. This is what our world of education is. Every day I teach my students formulas to solve problems that I already know the solution to. I do believe this is still necessary but we also need to provide students with the opportunities to learn about what they want to learn about outside of the classroom. We need to create problem solvers that know how to solve and research problems that are not yet known. My little second graders are going to be the people that try to solve our new worldly problems in the near future.
I was initially intrigued to the idea of the 20time project because it is something that can be done in the classroom, that can meet Common Core standards, and teaches the 4C’s (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity). Brookhouser was an English teacher and he put a lot of emphasis on the writing components that the project could offer – presentations, weekly blogs, and project proposals. Seeing some of the 20time projects that came out of Brookhouser’s room were absolutely amazing – 20time movie examples. In my classroom I aim to do the same thing. There are many second grade writing and reading standards that can be intertwined throughout the year as the students progress on their 2otime projects (2.RI standards & W2.2). This project will also help to enhance their digital literacy as they learn different methods of researching and presenting. To get them started into the research process I will use graphic organizers to help them organize their research. I will have different graphic organizers available for them to choose from to serve as a guide.
Now it comes down to me starting. Here is what I have decided thus far for my classroom. I will give students time for their projects every Friday. The afternoons will be our 20% time. This week I am also going to introduce the concept to my students and ask them what they would like to learn about. I know that many will look at me confused as they have never been told that they could learn about something they would like to learn about in school. I will show our progress on twitter and use the hashtag #20time. I will individually meet with each student during our writing block to help them narrow down their topic and how they will approach researching/writing it.
I know I feel just like many of my students will when I tell them about this project. I am scared and excited to see where my students can take this. I can’t help but ask myself, “If I were given this opportunity in grade school what would I have chosen to learn about?”. “How would I react to a teacher giving me freedom to learn?” These are all questions I will have to find out alongside my students.