Use the 180 Days Challenge to spark meaningful dialogue in your community.

Whether you’re an educator, a parent or just a concerned citizen, the 180 Days game is designed to help you better understand the sorts of choices teachers are making with (and for) children every day.

Inevitably those choices require some trade-offs. Sometimes we make decisions as teachers or parents that prioritize the intellectual needs of young people. Other times, our instinct is to protect their social or emotional health. But the real challenge, of course, is to find a way to successfully nourish all three.

The first step towards that goal comes when we realize which of those needs — intellectual, social and emotional — we already favor or prioritize. So we urge you to not just play the game yourself, but also to encourage others close to you to do the same — friends, colleagues, spouses, civic leaders.

Remember — each person’s score is not an indication of which path is right or wrong; merely which aspect of a child’s growth we tend to favor over others. So please, play the game with others, and discuss what you notice so that together, we can strengthen our ability to help all kids learn and grow.

For stations: here’s how take advantage of the 180 Days resources.

  • Play this game. — Ask your viewers to play the online 180 Days Challenge, and to share their results via social media.
  • Read this article about school choice. — In a piece for the Washington Post, education reporter Valerie Strauss said that the 180 Days movie shows why issues like school choice are irrelevant in rural communities. Do you agree or disagree? What role should school choice have in our efforts to improve school reform nationwide?
  • Watch this excerpt from the film about a single mom and her young children, and consider the nexus between a child’s socioeconomic living conditions and his or her readiness to learn in school. If the saying “unmet social needs leads to unmet academic needs” is true, what else should schools and communities be doing to support the development and growth of children?
  • Read this article about student behavior on buses. — In a piece for the New York Times, author Sam Chaltain chronicles the work in Hartsville, SC, to make bus drivers more a part of the overall effort to support student learning — by making them much more aware of the developmental needs of kids. Does this idea strike you as something other schools should be imitating, or is it too far afield from the central issues to be helpful?

Start playing the 180 Days Challenge in the role of principal, teacher or parent at game.