New school has a block schedule. HELP!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LittleShakespeare, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2017

    Hi, everyone. I got a new job as a high school English teacher. My first day is Monday, but I am a bit worried. The school runs on a block schedule. My teaching periods would be 80 minutes long. I'm a bit new to the block scheduling, but I want to do my best.

    How do you divide the period as an English teacher? I know diversification is key. But I would love your advice. Thank you!
     
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  3. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2017

    Chunk, chunk, chunk. I teach units and a novel. Ideally each chunk should be about 20 minutes. I can't do that. I do one ten minute warm up, one 40 minute unit and one 40 minute novel study. I have warm up, class unit, novel study. One day I want to be able to plan "stations" like an elementary class - have 4 twenty minute stations...haven't been able to do it yet. My units are sometimes text book based, sometimes project based. It varies. (each unit is generally about a week or so in length but they could even be a day)
     
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  4. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2017

    by novel I mean in every class we cover a novel. We spend time with it in some form every day.
     
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  5. Linstea

    Linstea Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2017

    The first thing I''d do is contact people in your department and see what they do with the time. My first instinct is to try a workshopping model: mini lesson 20 mins/ reading/writing 30 mins/ Grammar/other 20 mins.
    For this sort of model I'd reference the book In the Middle. I haven't done it in my classroom but I think it could work for a long block period.

    I also like the idea of stations creativemonster mentioned :)
     
  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Sep 22, 2017

    I teach English on a 100-minute block schedule and I love it! I actually think 90 minutes is the perfect amount of time. My periods typically run like this:

    10 minutes -- journal writing and discussion
    30 minutes -- Harkness circle discussion using this method
    15-20 minutes -- direct instruction on whatever writing assignment/project/concept we are working on
    30-45 minutes -- students working on writing assignments, projects, etc

    I am able to do a lot of project-based learning and writing workshop in a block. I wouldn't even know how to go back to traditional periods anymore!
     
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  7. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2017

    Thank you so much, everybody!
     
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  8. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Sep 23, 2017

    Hey Littleshakespeare!! Congratulations on the new job!! Anyway, I have taught blocks for the last 4 years. The way it works, is to rotate activity, as others have said. I lecture 10-15 minutes, let them work together on problems for another 10-15 minutes, then answer questions from the problems. Most days, I rotate lecture and group problems the first 50 minutes. On the other 50 minutes, I give them an assignment and go around the room and see if they have questions and check to make sure they are on task. Since you are teaching English, I would definitely have them read in class and write essays. That way, there is less homework and you can monitor and have students ask you questions. There is no way ever that I could lecture straight for two hours each day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  9. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Sep 23, 2017

    I was never good at English and have never taught it:) I But if I were teaching it, ms. Irene has it down on a good way to do it in my opinion.
     
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  10. LittleShakespeare

    LittleShakespeare Rookie

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    Thank you so much! You're absolutely right. I couldn't teach for 2 hours. I feel like that's too much for the kids.
     
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  11. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Good!! I hope it works out. It was hard for me to adjust to block schedules, as I'm still learning each year! But congrats again!! I knew you would find a job! And now you are a full time English teacher! That is awesome!
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2017

    I taught English on a block schedule before.
    I always started with independent reading. I believe independent reading is so important for all kids! I always told them they wouldn't always like everything I assigned, so that was their time to choose whatever interested them.
    I would then chunk everything else into 10-30 minutes each. I never spent longer than 30 minutes on anything and even that was pushing it.
    I'd also recommend doing some short brain activities. Even now on a regular schedule, I like doing riddles, puns, poems, quotes, etc... it gets them engaged in a different way!
     
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  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    Sep 24, 2017

    Conference with your new coworkers ASAP. They are going to walk you through the system. We are only guessing - they have a system.
     

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