Thursday, February 27, 2014

This is why you should do #20Time in your school #edchat

I have the best job in the world when I get to read the blogs of my students on how their 20 Time projects are going. I never know what I'm going to get when I open a student blog. It might be something on their project, it might be something about how they are feeling at the moment and other times, it's just a little update on their lives. I wanted to share a few blog posts from the past few weeks that have really stood out to me and show why every school should have some form of 20 Time.

Alexis M - Project: Documentary on 5 Different People

"I am just so fortunate that I have been able to meet with so many new faces and I just can't believe it! I probably have met more people than I have my middle school years and freshman year combined. But the one thing that is so amazing is how everyone comes up to me and says, "thank you so much for filming me, or him/her, or us".To me I had been seeing filming them as kind of something that might get in the way of their work, or take up valuable time, but instead I hope I have been able to spotlight them in a comfortable way. It feels good to have put a smile on their face and helped them share their story, and I'm just lucky for this experience."

I love this attitude that Alexis has for this project. She feels lucky to have had the experience of meeting new people and hearing their stories. In a world that seems, at times, to be focused on "me me me", it is so great to see someone appreciate other people and the lives they are leading. She has dedicated her time to exploring the lives of other people and hopes to learn something about herself in the process. That is a huge win for the idea behind 20 Time in the classroom.

Gennie G - Project: Learning ASL

"Every winter my family and I go up north to Traverse City and the same with this year for a week. The first day after making the trip up north, my family and I went out on the Grand Traverse Bay which for once in a long time was frozen over. My dad and brother started shoveling a certain area that they believed was smooth so they could skate. But when I went down and grabbed a shovel, instead of joining my dad and brother,I took my shovel and just went. I shoveled my own path. I went on my own way. By shoveling snow in this way I was able to find a perfect patch of ice out on the lake. My dad eventually came over to me with a confused look and demanded that I shovel in the main area instead of "goofing off" and randomly shoveling around. Yeah I looked silly and maybe a little strange, but if I hadn't have done that, i would never had found that perfect patch. Instead of conforming,I tried something new,and it worked. But it's not always going to work. It's not always going to happen exactly theway you want. What if I had not found that perfect patch? Would I have failed? No. I would look funny randomly shoveling the ice out on the bay, but I would not have failed. I would still be adventurous and keep trying new things. carpe diem. Try something new. Stop doing the things you do everyday like a pattern. Seize the day and do something new."

Gennie has been working hard on her project and has encountered many roadblocks along the way. I love this idea from her because it shows the power of what 20 Time can do for students. By allowing Gennie to explore her ideas and pursue her passion, she has had a chance to think about her actions and how it is sometimes ok to be different and explore the world in a different way. These are the ideas educators should want to foster in students and I'm excited to be part of her journey. 

Leonie L - Project: Biology and Disease

"Since a young age, I have always been interested in biology and medicine. After taking Honors Biology freshman year, I began to understand in detail how my body functions every day. When ever I get sick, I now know what my body is doing to fight off the illness. I find it very fascinating! About six years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Ménière's disease. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, "It is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear." After having multiple surgeries and taking many medications, my dad  still can not hear out of his one ear. Doctors still do not know why people get this disease or what causes the disease to happen. It also does not have a cure yet. Through my 20 time project and biology class, I have developed a passion to solving the unanswered questions about this disease. I know this will be extremely challenging, but I am up for it!"

Leonie has taken an interesting path with her project. She started out looking to design a better cover for cameras to take pictures in the rain. After the first part of the school year, she came up with a version that was pretty effective, but she realized that it wasn't something she was as passionate about as she thought. She has now changed her project to something very challenging. I think about 20 Time and I see students taking on personal challenges to accomplish tasks or learning something new and I think about the great experiences they are going to have. I look at Leonie and see someone who could make a difference in the world. Her project could lead to something amazing. Sometimes, all it takes is a different set of eyes looking at a problem to come up with an amazing breakthrough. Giving her the time to explore what really matters to her has inspired her and no bubble test could ever duplicate that. 

These are just three of many of the amazing things that are going on in my classroom. I have 90 students participating in my 20 Time experiment. Imagine if my entire high school (1,700) were working on projects that mattered to them. What would 1,700 students come up with if they were allowed to explore their passions? The possibility alone should push you to looking into starting 20 Time in your school. 

Feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message if you have more questions about 20 Time in the classroom. 



  1. Wish you will find a good job.There is much information in this article with which I agree. Your writing style is superb and easy to read. Thank you for your dedication.
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  2. I love these accounts of #20Time - next year I'd love to do something similar with my University students! Best wishes, Sandra

  3. Loving #20Time in my classroom. These projects sound awesome!

  4. I love how this not only models #20time and #genius hour, but also how it models student blogging and meta-cognition. Thanks for always openly sharing your journey with students so that the rest of us can build the courage to take the plunge and try these things!

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