What would your students do if they had class time in art to focus on something they were passionate about? This summer I listened to teacher and author Kevin Brookhouser speak about he uses 20Time in his high school classes and I knew I had to try it. The concept is inspired by Google, which gives it's employees 20% of their time to work on any project they want to. Kevin does this with his students and the results are amazing.
My kids have quite a bit of choice in my TAB classroom, but it's mostly centered around themes and topics that I select. I want my students to have the opportunity to really focus on pursuing the things they are passionate about. I also want to give them a space to investigate how art can intersect or support other subjects.
I want my class to provide the type of learning experience that is remembered for a lifetime.
I decided on the following criteria for 20Time:
I was excited and a little nervous when I shared this idea with my Art 1 classes yesterday. Would they get it? Would they be able to come up with ideas?
I presented the information above and had them identify one of the three project categories that they connected with. I saw them sit up a little taller as I talked, eyes bright with interest.
Next, they got in groups based on the category they selected and did a brainstorming activity. I asked them to list possibilities for projects without considering the cost, feasibility or their ability level, to tap into creative, out of the box thinking.
Next, I had kids fill out this planning sheet on my website. Some chose to work alone, other in groups. I was amazed at some of their ideas. Here are a few I'm excited about:
Building a website for a current business selling used xboxes.
Worldbuilding for a novel being written.
Character development for a future graphic novel.
Exploring watercolor technique.
Designing a toy drive for a local animal shelter.
Writing a smartphone app.
And this was just week one! I'm very much looking forward to next Friday.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.