20% time

Friday’s this year in my class are going to be different. We are going to have ‘20%’ time.

If you haven’t come across 20% time before, it’s and idea that 3m and google and some other companies use which frees up 20% of the working week for their staff to pursue their own projects and interests. In the company time.

I read a few blog posts about this approach being undertaken in classes and thought it sounded like a great idea and something I wanted to try. Why?

1. I wanted the children in class to have an enjoyable learning experience at least once a week (I’m aiming for more than that, but I hope that ALL the children have one enjoyable learning experience guaranteed using 20%)

2. I want the children to see that their interests are valued and that our classroom is a place they can nurture those interests they already have, not leave them at the school door.

3. I want all the children I teach to develop a love of learning, not for ticks, badges or scores, but for the buzz of learning.

4. I thought if offered the opportunity to develop skills for learning in a context where the children felt safe, happy and stress free. I really want the children to see the learning skills they have, and develop their self-esteem chips (as Richard Gerver calls them) I also thought it gave a good opportunity for separating our the learning skills from the content knowledge.

They were some of the things I thought 20% could offer in my class, and with the support of the SMT, we set off on our first steps this week.
More of that in the next few posts.


Learning as an Active Process by Mitchell Norris. 



  1. John

    Looking forward to reading the series of posts an exciting idea.
    Are you giving 20% of the school week (=1 day) to this?
    It will be interesting to compare this with some of other ideas for involving children, for example: gamification or badges, that are appearing. This along with your, I want all the children I teach to develop a love of learning, not for ticks, badges or scores, but for the buzz of learning. feels a bit purer.

    August 26, 2012 at 11:47 am Reply

  2. mark sherbow

    Hi Robert! Just looking through your post and it great to read your post on 20% time. I think allowing children time to create and innovate is where many students are able to find passion with their learning and importantly learn that they are responsible and able to direct their learning! Yeah.

    We are starting to get ready for school and excited for the upcoming year!

    Looking forward to our blogging classes!


    August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *