Children love it. Teachers love it even more because they can get a few jobs finished before home time on a Friday afternoon!
My class generally earn their golden time. They collect gems on their tables and as a class, they can pull all of their gems together for minutes of golden time or they save them for next week.
However, if a child has been in detention at all that week, they miss 5 minutes per detention of golden time. This week the chief meercat in my class had lost 10 minutes of golden time, because he’d had 2 detentions. He sat with the 10 minute egg timer whilst the other children enjoyed golden time. He still had 20 minutes left though. The class decided to buy 30 minutes of golden time and keep any remaining gems for the next time. So far chief meercat and chief tortoise are losing 5 minutes next golden time because they ended up with detentions by the end of the day Friday for Monday lunchtime.
Whilst the children are enjoying having a free choice of activities, on the iPad table, the doodling table or with the board games around the room, I’m busy marking times table tests and filing pieces of paper under file 81N! If I’m lucky, I have enough time to tidy the mountain of paperwork on my desk and get dates ready for the board next week. (Only on a Mary Poppins Friday afternoon though!)
I always feel disheartened on a Thursday home time when the children decide to keep saving for golden time, if they think they haven’t got enough gems, because it means I have to find something to fill the last half hour of the week! Then I remember the amount of gems I take away from the tables when they get too chatty during learning tasks. First week back after half term though and the children haven’t found their truest form yet, so many gems were collected and few were taken back! Hence 30 gems = 30 minutes golden time.
I must try harder to encourage them to collect more gems each week. If only for my own sanity at 2:15pm on a Friday afternoon!