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 Online Community Lesson 


Time, Time, Time (A Guide for Students)

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of the United States, author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, and diplomat, 1706 - 1790

In this issue of Montebello E-News, there is an announcement by NetAid,, about its Global Citizen Corps, “a national network of high school student leaders working to educate and mobilize their peers in efforts to end global poverty.”  Last week there was an announcement by Youth Venture,, about “Tu Voz My Venture”.  Along with the race to college, our students are offered so many opportunities for extracurricular activities.  We are not short on variety;  however, we are short on time. 

So let us ask the question:  given that time is scarce, how best should our students use it?  With regard to curriculum, we have touched upon this question in “Do We Dare Tread upon Taboo Territory?” in the February 22, 2007, E-News.  Now we look at extracurricular activities. 

Sports, band, school clubs.  Then there are organizations which make offers from the outside.  There are family businesses.  And then there are the tactlessly tacked flyers by businesses looking for cheap labor.  How does a student use her or his scarce time? 

Let us look at a list of criteria for an extracurricular activity.  I have assigned points to each criterion.  How many points would you assign each of these criteria according to the usefulness to a student in his or her adult life and to the community in which he will live as an adult? 

·        earn college money by operating a social venture, three points;

·        teach others, including family, to help themselves, three points;

·        meet people and learn of and from their experiences, three points;

·        learn to think outside the box, three points;

·        learn a skill useful in adult life, two points;

·        exercise the body, two points;

·        exercise the mind, two points;

·        better prepare for college, one point;

·        build one’s résumé for college, one point. 

Now, we would look at activities:  band, sports, academic decathlon, school clubs, NetAid, Youth Venture, and so on.  Using the criteria, we would add up the points for each activity.  The more points for an activity, the better use of a student’s scarce time if she chose that activity. 

If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to with “Lesson answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization. 

1.  How can we tell that a student’s time is scarce?

(a) He or she is late to events or meetings.

(b) She has to pass up an excellent activity.

(c) His grades are not as high as they used to be. 

2. What is a good way to decide among extracurricular activities?

(a) find out what a student’s good friends are doing.

(b) create criteria, assign each criterion points, and then see which criteria apply to different activities. 

April 26, 2007






























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