20% time is CRITICAL but try it on a Monday

Most people are bummed on Sunday night, knowing their "playtime" is over.

Photo of David Harrington
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Photo of Michael Schurr

Hi David, How are you? I think you are onto a great idea here and the comments below have really started to frame it out in more detail. We would love for you to share it in the ideate phase.

A couple of questions that might help frame out this idea:
What’s this idea about?
Why is this an idea that creates a culture of innovation?
How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal?
How’d you get this idea off the ground?

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or want to talk the idea out in more detail!

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave

I recently read an article about 20% time for education, and it was so eye opening. We often ask kids what they want (for christmas, birthday, etc.) but we rarely ask them what they want to learn, much less give them space to explore those interests.
Here's the article:

Photo of Dan Ryder

I'm curious to see where a conversation around best days of the week for personal passions lie.

I usually tell my students we only do work on Tuesdays. Mondays are . . Monday. Wednesday is Hump Day. Thursday is only a day until Friday. Friday is .. FRIDAY.

So Tuesday is the only week day where anything can happen, naturally.

Photo of David Harrington

How about if we could remove the "Monday-ness" from Monday? I would argue that one of the reasons Monday is Monday is because it is not Saturday or Sunday......So if we could make Monday more like Saturday or Sunday, by integrating something more fun and free-flowing (like a 20% day), then we have just went from 20% productivity to 40% productivity (which is not great but still a 100% improvement).

Photo of Dan Ryder

I like that thinking a tremendous amount; I wonder what sort of shifts we'd need to make in our weekly planning to accommodate for 20% Mondays? Or perhaps that's part of the trouble -- what if we didn't think of it as accommodating and making room, but rather just a natural part of our learning routines?

Photo of David Harrington

I am totally following you. Here is my 2 cents. I would make 20% formalized on Mondays so the kids and teachers know, "Wow, tonight is Sunday night but tomorrow is Monday, which is just as fun as the weekends." Ok, with that said, I would like Design Thinking moved into ever classroom in a NON-formal way. Basically, the first day of class, the teacher will review the DT Principles and then correlate them to their class. For instance, if it was a Language Arts class, the prototyping would be in the form of a rough draft of a paper (just a quick example).

Photo of Dan Ryder

What you are talking about in ELA? That's just where I've moved -- though I would say it is "formal' as I actively teach my students the design process & now refer to "designing a piece" instead of "writing an assignment." And that's my hope for more and more content area folks -- to see that principles of design thinking that play well with their content and adopt that empathy-fueled, prototype-oriented problem solving to the pedagogy.

Photo of Brett Brownell

Thanks for sharing David. I'd love to hear more about the book and the 20% time concept. And why you mention Monday. Do you think that's the hardest day to try it or maybe the best so that Sundays are less of a "bummer"?

Photo of David Harrington

Definitely the latter.