Creative School Scheduling

How might we reschedule the school day to give us time to establish a culture of innovation in our schools?

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There are a lot of places already trying to reschedule the school day to allow for larger chunks of uninterrupted learning time that allows for more project-based learning and design thinking principles. I found these resources to be particularly helpful:

  1. Designing Creative Schedules in Times of Diminishing Resources / Guilderland Central School District
  2. The Power of Innovative Scheduling / ASCD
  3. Scheduling Ideas / Debbie Waggoner
  4. We Need More Time / Rebecca DuFour

I like the idea of creating a teacher template/lesson plan that includes a checklist similar to one that others have already contributed that keeps the Three Capabilities of Innovation Framework in mind. I love the idea of shifting pedagogy to ask, "What problems do we want to solve?" as a way to guide instruction for the year and then during each project/problem, allowing specific time for creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution.

I also like the idea of having innovation groups for both students and teachers. I would like that expanded to include families where a learning community is established that occurs both in and outside of school and includes topics of interest.

Looking through the final 50 ideas, there are two that I think could also be integrated into this idea. The first is from Britta Wilk-McKenna and asks What if students prescribed their own learning one day or one hour per week? I love the idea of inviting parents and community members to be resources, or even more, partners in learning with staff and students. I can see this being successful using an edcamp-style format.

Margaret Powers also had an intriguing idea with Connecting the Dots - Creating a Scalable Hub Model. Innovation hubs would be an excellent source of sharing and connecting across the globe and could provide one centralized physical space where collaboration can occur regularly. 

David Harrington also contributed some great ideas to optimize given class time.

  • Default to simple. Technology is not always the right tool. Sometimes sticky notes are better.
  • Leverage tools built on collaboration (shameless plug to Google Apps)
  • Flipped Projects. Many schools have already leverage flipped classrooms. However, with tools like Skype and Hangouts, 
    kids can do some of the projects at home too (and still participate in a group).

I added some sample schedules that allow for more blocks of learning time. These samples are from School Scheduling Associates and Guilderland Central School District.


Join the conversation:

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Can you provide an example of maybe a week's schedule of how you would adjust or refine scheduling to make it more susceptible to project-based scheduling. Feel free to use examples from your "real world" or create something completely fictitious. The goal is to take this idea to the next level and create a prototype. To take it one step further, if you are using google apps, just create a new "blank" calendar inside of Google Calendar and then start populating it. You can take a screen capture and post it. Try to use a few different approaches: Larger chunks of time, time when the mind is more creative (not between 3-4pm), starting the session with some energetic and subject appropriate music, etc. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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