The 95% Rule – The Last Week Before Winter Break…

December 17, 2014

What would engaged students look like in a classroom if our superintendent walked into our school or classroom? (Especially during the last week before winter break…)

This is a great week to think about how we control and design the 95% of our time and learning in the classroom. Kids are tired, parents are tired, teachers are tired… In order to make sure that we have a good last week, it is so important to make sure that the kids have a good last week learning!

The 95% rule is the idea that “I control and design 95% of my day by how I act and react.” If students are doing busy, meaningless work that has little purpose or significance, the tendency for behaviors and issues to come up will be much greater than if they are working on tasks that require deep thought, reflection, and hard work, and are engaging, intellectually stimulating, and not just about getting through the day.

The holiday season offers so many opportunities for great learning. We were singing Christmas Carols yesterday in the gym as a whole school and many of the traditional Christmas carols have funny words, unknown phrases that make a little sense in 2014, or just are meaningless for kids because most of us do not even know the second verses of many of the well-known songs. What a great time to look into the lyrics or the music or the history or the development of the songs. Why are they or are they not meaningful in our times? Why do we put trees in our living rooms? Why is the end of December a time across many cultures to celebrate? Why do cultures do what they do? What do our own families do and why?

There are so many opportunities around citizenship, helping others, supporting our fellow persons, looking at cultural differences, media studies, or just examining changes in the holiday traditions, that Great learning with kids is possible and a essential right up to and including December 19…

Work hard, learned tons, and have your self a Merry Little Christmas!

By the way, the amazing students in our School Choir bet me that they could fill up 4 bins for the Mayor’s Food Drive. If the Belvedere Parkway community is able to fill 4 bins, I have to sing on December 19 in front of the whole school. I am sad to report, that the students have filled up 4 and a 1/2 bins so far…

And yes, I am practicing every night!


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