I went through the 2014-2015 calendar yesterday and it's full. Every day is now scheduled for the coming year. I was able to carve out some time for 20% Time/20-Time/Genius Hour/Be-About-It...or whatever it's being called this month, but after doing the math, it's really only about 16% Time, and it's an optional practice as a replacement for the research paper. Students will have the choice to complete the traditional British Literature literary analysis essay, or they can choose the 20% Project. I'm hoping this will let everyone do what they want (some people like literary analysis, right?) but as always I'm concerned I'm not really giving the 20% Time Project it's full measure. But again, the schedule is full. It's July, and there's not a single open day between now and May 29.
It's times like this I'm always curious how other people at other districts do it. How can truly give 20% of time for a non-curricular project, while still meeting all the standards? How can they have days where students just learn about learning, or talk about learning, and not moving forward on the required content? How can people spend a month on a single Romeo and Juliet project? These are all noble goals, but where do they fit? As it stands now, anything that gets added to my class comes at the expense of something else. More reading could be done at home, yes, but how much of it will actually get done? And honestly, English seems like the class that should worry least about scope and sequence. Unlike Math, Science, or History, we aren't really cumulative. Skills do build on each other, but it's not essential that you read Beowulf before getting to Macbeth. Both will still work on their own.
Regardless, the struggle will continue. The balance between classics and non-fiction, novels and snippets, and units v. skills will surely continue for the foreseeable future. The trick will be to focus on the positive while continually trying to make room for everything.