Whats your classroom’s sweet spot?

I just started reading The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter on the recommendation of one of my office mates. In in she presents a plan to hit that mental and physical place athletes call the flow in every day life. 

To work in the flow, for those of you who don’t know, is when you feel everything comes together, everything falls into place, time flies by and everything feels good. 

Carter’s premise is that in today’s go-go-go culture it is really difficult to hit the flow state because we don’t give ourselves the time or the space to hit it. In the book she offers some practical tips to help her readers hot a flow state in their daily lives. 

This book, though, is also making me think about school culture and what it does to our kids. My school works on 99 minute periods. Teachers are told to teach “bell to bell” meaning there is never a wasted moment. Students do activities that help them test better, makes them smarter, and ultimately makes them competitive post graduation. But at what cost?

How do we as teachers create the sweet spot for our students? If we allow brain breaks and some time to let go a little bit in class, how do we time this for our students to be most effective?

What I have noticed in my career is that the semesters that I am unrelenting in the activities and structured I hold my students to, they don’t do as well. But those years I treat them like the human beings they are, everything goes better- my students are happier, and surprisingly they test better too.

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