Here’s a study: add twenty minutes to your day and take notes on what more you accomplish. What’s your hypothesis? Will you add value to your life in that twenty minutes, or will you take it for granted, not notice it, watch it tick away—poof! The answer is probably different for each person who reads this blog, but for students and teachers at The Lexington School, twenty extra minutes makes MAGIC.
Let’s back up. The Lexington School started a new schedule this year, adding twenty minutes to the school day. Over the past year, The Lexington School formed a committee of teachers, administrators and students in concert with the School Life Committee of the Board of Trustees to examine, review and recommend changes to our class schedule. After interviewing and surveying members of the community and identifying the wants and desires of our faculty, staff and students, the school engaged with Independent School Management (ISM). ISM specializes in designing schedules for independent schools like TLS and, in fact, helped design our last scheduling overhaul over 15 years ago.
The result was something beyond the imagination. Across divisions the move from a 6-day schedule to an 8-day schedule gives more flexibility for each student. It allows the school more options in Lower School for specials and recess while maximizing classroom teaching time in core subjects. It gives faculty more common planning time in subject areas and grade level teaching across divisions. In Middle School it lowered class sizes allowing each grade to have its own team of English and History teachers making collaborative teaching and learning more comprehensive than ever.
Twenty extra minutes made all of that happen and more. Educational research recommends kids move throughout their school day. Moving doesn’t take away from learning. It accentuates it. All educators know this, but in most schools, there isn’t the time nor the space to make it happen. With twenty extra minutes to mix things up, to move, EXPLORE, ENRICH, THINK, and NOD kids are active and creative all at once. These are brief, explosive moments of learning on the go that result in students who are ready to dig deep and focus into whatever topic you give them next.
Watch this video to learn more about twenty extra minutes through the eyes of 7th grader, George. What you will see is a school that THINKS and EXPLORES all opportunities for ENRICHing their students. Just IMAGINE the possibilities. Lexington school kids are using their extra twenty minutes today. What will you do with yours?
Video courtesy of Una MacCarthy and George.