Two Questions On My Mind – How We Spend Our School Time

For some time, I’ve been contemplating more than a couple of questions. Yet these two keep emerging for me in the past few days and weeks…

  1. If most life is project-based, is it too much to devote ~10% wk in project-origin in school? (3.5 of 35 hrs.) 2.5 hrs is pass time! ON TWITTER
  2. Interesting to visit schools July-Aug, and on Sat/Sun. Lots of sports practices. I wonder… why we feel we cannot “practice” academics too ON TWITTER

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Be cultivators of curiosity and inquiry – Ramsey Musallam #TED

Rethinking our identity…

But if we as educators leave behind this simple role as disseminators of content and embrace a new paradigm as cultivators of curiosity and inquiry, we just might bring a little bit more meaning to their school day, and spark their imagination.

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning,


  1. Curiosity comes first.
  2. Embrace the mess.
  3. Practice reflection.

“A Radically Practical Vision of Education” via @EdSurge @patwater #MustRead

A #MustRead of #MustReads in my humble opinion…

In a world that’s changing so rapidly, why wouldn’t you build our education system around what we don’t know rather than around what we do?

Patrick Atwater in EdSurge 4.2.2013

“What inquiry-based education could look like in the year 2025–and how we get there.”

I think we could get there much more nimbly and quickly than 2025. It would require those who are serious about purposefully using design to work the problem to achieve these new models…in existing schools, not just new start ups. It would require the courage to lead before we reach a place of more crisis-management change motivation. It would require those who want this vision for kids and learners right now.

The Future Project #WhatIfWeekly

From The Future Project

We embed Dream Directors in schools—a new character that we invented after listening to what students and teachers believe is missing most. They’re the only true cost of our model, and they make magic happen.

Part human catalyst and part social entrepreneur, Dream Directors recruit and train volunteer Future Coaches from the community and clear the way for students to dream up and build Future Projects of their own, each with potential to reawaken entire schools. We saw that last year—and this year we’re taking it one step further, committing to inspiring at least eight in ten students in each of our partner schools to either become part of a Project or lead one as a Fellow.

More about The Future Project:

What if we all did more to support missions like The Future Project’s?

We’re on a mission to transform America’s high schools into Future Schools. Places that value taking risks and taking action. That show students they have what it takes to innovate and to lead. That unleash passion. And power. It’s a whole new vision for education, and a revolution in which everyone wins.

A piece of “what”: questions are wind in the sails on open seas, not speed bumps on “coverage road”

Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom.
– Grant Lichtman, The Falconer


The difference between grappling and other forms of learning is that when the questions become the students’ own, so do the answers.
– Sizer and Sizer, The Students Are Watching


Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.
– Clay Christensen as quoted by Jason Fried on “Why Can’t Someone Be Taught Until They’re Ready To Learn?” on Farnam Street blog


Great questions have legs. They propel the learning forward.
– Edna Sackson, “Great questions have legs…” blog post on What Ed Said

Have you ever gotten annoyed by repetitive questioning? In many ways, it’s natural to feel such annoyance at certain times. Yet, if the questioner is genuinely curious and inquiring authentically, then there is great reason to exercise patience and understanding.

Have you ever encountered a classroom where questions become discouraged? On more than a few occasions, I have heard a teacher indicate, “No more questions! We have too much to cover.” And I have read teacher-tip books about techniques and manipulatives for limiting students to a certain number of questions per class period.

When did questions become speed bumps instead of wind in the sails? Do you see questions as slow-down frustrations or travel-spurring energies?

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
– Plutarch

As a new year begins, here’s to those who strive to UNCOVER and DISCOVER…not just COVER.

[“A piece of ‘why,'” A piece of ‘what,'” and A piece of ‘how'” are strands of a series on why school needs to change, what about school needs to change, and how schools might navigate the change.]