Free time in the classroom is an all too common occurrence.  There are even those who advocate for more of it. Though by doing so they seem to be more of apologists than advocates.  None-the-less, the purpose of this post is not to debate the merits, or lack thereof, of free time.  No, the purpose of this post is to share this one observation…

Free time in an instructional setting has the same effect as a zero in a gradebook.

Let that sink in.

For example, if a student has four “100’s” and four zeros, his average would be a 50.

If you have students engaged at the application level of cognition for half of a class period, and doing nothing for the other half of the period, the average rigor rate of the class is pulled down.  Argue the magnitude of this effect if you like, but you can’t argue that the opportunity for student cognition has been degraded. 

This year, keep teaching and keep student brains operating as much as you can, bell-to-bell, if possible.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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