At a teacher training workshop I once attended, the facilitator advised that the activities within a lesson should last one minute for each year of age. In other words, those five-year-old kindergarteners could be expected to pay attention for five minutes before I needed to move on to something new.
Yesterday evening at the park, I watched a boy push his younger sister in a bucket swing. She must have been two or three. The older brother began with enthusiasm. “Whee!” he exclaimed with a grin as big as the girl’s.
Yet, as the minutes passed, I could tell he wanted to play with his peers. He slowed the swing to a stop and suggested, “Let’s find Mommy.” The girl jutted her right index finger to the sky and demanded, “Higher!” I watched this happen once, twice, three more times as my son pumped his legs on the swing beside her.
Was that lesson planning advice valid? Did I need to shift activities more quickly for younger students? I’m not sure. Who is it that actually gets bored first? Observing that girl, blonde head tilted back, eyes closed, giggling as she swung back and forth for longer than three minutes tells me that, if you are doing something you love, your attention span is endless.