Preferred Activity Time
PAT as according to Jones (2007)

With PAT, two goals are being accomplished:
  1. Free motivation
  2. Students enjoy an enrichment activity
PAT is time set aside for educational activities that students enjoy.  Always aligning to state standards, PAT can range from anything as simple as practicing multiplication tables on a computer game to a class review game for a test.  The beauty of implementing PAT into your classroom are the two goals above.  The students will never know that they would be completing the activity regardless of PAT!

Teachers often complain that their class takes too long to transition in between lessons, or that it takes them too long to complete an assignment.  In an effort to teach students time management, teachers must first give students time.  This is where PAT comes into play. PAT can be thought of as a gift with an educational purpose (Jones, 2007).  Depending on grade and maturity level, teachers provide their class with a gift, a particular amount of PAT time. For example, in a third grade classroom, students can be given twenty minutes of PAT each day that will occur the last twenty minutes of the day.  It increases learning time by encouraging students to quickly and efficiently move through other lessons and assignments in order to work during PAT (a structured educational activity); only students think they are getting a bonus because PAT is an enjoyable activity!

After receiving a set amount of PAT, students can earn bonus time through hurry-up bonuses.  In an effort to train students to hustle, they can offer students more PAT minutes if they finish transitions early.  For exmaple, you can tell your class, "Okay, it is now time to put away your journals and take out your math textbooks, graphing paper and calculators.  Most classes can get this done in two minutes, but I know you can do it faster.  I will start the timer.  Any time left over after each person is properly prepared for math will be rewarded with bonus time added to today's PAT."  If the class is prepared for math in under two minutes, you can give them four (take the amount of time it should have taken them and then double it) more PAT minutes.  This should be recorded on the front board for all students to see.

PAT Ideas

Often times, PAT can be implemented in the form of class games.  These games can be played as a form of teaching new or content or as review sessions.  Jones (2007) says, "team competition is perhaps the most reliable and easy to use motivational 'hook' in education" (296).  See the graphic for simple PAT ideas to get you started (Jones, 2007).  As you and your class become acquainted with PAT, you can adjust the activities as you come to understand the limitless power of PAT.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven."
    Life has a lot to do with balancing time.  As teachers, I believe that it easy for us to focus too much on academic content, and not enough of student needs.  The reality is students need to learn, and they also need to have fun.  Fortunately, PAT meets both needs while reminding teachers to include fun and enjoyable activities into the curriculum.  I plan to implement PAT into my future classroom, and I am so excited about it! It gives me, as well as the students, an opportunity to be creative with academia. For example, if I am teaching third graders how to format a friendly letter, PAT can include writing a friendly letter to their favorite TV character.  The students will enjoy the activity because they get to think about their favorite TV shows, and I enjoy it because I will see the creativeness of my students while being able to assess their knowledge of a friendly letter.  With PAT, win-win situations are created daily!