The core of the Activity Block is Work Time, which consists of a long, uninterrupted period that provides students the opportunity to make choices, pursue personal goals, solve problems and learn relevant skills through self-selected activities. During Work Time, children have ample freedom to read or write texts of their choice, solve problems they feel need to be solved, use space and materials freely, and collaborate with peers of their choice. The Work Time Rubric should be used to guide the implementation of the Work Time format.
Work time gives students a chance to exercise independence, make choices about what to learn, think critically, and practice newly-learned skills while working on projects of interest. All of these factors help motivate students to become engaged in their work. Since students pursue activities of choice, and not those assigned by a teacher, they tend to be highly motivated and approach Work Time with the intensity they might devote to play or games.
The emphasis of Work Time is to provide students with opportunities to pursue their own work agenda. Students are able to learn the habits of mind and dispositions of disciplined thinkers through the daily practice of exercising free will responsibly.
Work time is also the teacher’s working medium. A classroom in which all students are industriously engaged in independent, self-directed projects is an ideal context for teachers to conduct the curriculum-embedded assessments and differentiated instruction that are distinctive features of the Learning Cultures curriculum.