How does your school do class switching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by viola_x_wittrockiana, May 14, 2021.

  1. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    May 14, 2021

    I've been thinking lately about the various models of switching classrooms/teachers and the pros/cons. When I was a kid, we had a main teacher but would switch classrooms and teachers for one subject starting in third grade. That lasted through 6th, then starting in 7th we were organized into "teams" or what some schools call "pods" of four core teachers, switched classrooms for every class, had hall lockers, and no homeroom cohorts. The schools I was at last year did homerooms with lockers in the classrooms, but switched for every class 4-6th. 7th and up had hall lockers, but still had a homeroom teacher and homeroom cohort.

    With the 4-6th kids at least, switching all the time was a mess. The kids constantly left things in the wrong room or their lockers and student work was lost/stolen frequently as well. The end of the day was particularly chaotic with kids needing to run between classrooms to grab papers/books they'd left in other rooms. The other problem we ran into was tension between students starting in one class, then escalating in the next when a teacher didn't know what'd happened earlier. Was that just my school, or is it like that for others on that model?

    Are any of you on a different model from what I've experienced? What are the pros/cons of your models? I'm curious about models where the teachers change rooms and the students stay put.
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    May 15, 2021

    We team teach, so each child has two teachers. The best system I’ve found is to keep supplies extremely minimal and have them stored in the classroom. It looked like this:
    Class A has one blue folder and one labeled notebook. It goes on the left side of your desk.
    Class A has one red folder and one labeled notebook. It goes on the right side of your desk.

    They could keep one independent reading book in there also and nothing else. Textbooks were shared and kept on a shelf in the classroom.

    We repeated this system aloud as needed and modeled left/right each time. Even in upper elementary, some students need that.

    There were still some rule breakers and students who for some reason lost or forgot the folder as it somehow left the desk, but for the most part it worked really well. This is all past tense as it was pre-Covid. This year we’re all digital, period, no papers. We’re still hybrid. Some teachers do print things for those coming into the classroom but I’m not going to prep like that when only 1/3 students are there in person.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 15, 2021

    We switched when I was an elementary student. My 6th grade year (still in elementary) the teachers started having both classes going into one room for long blocks of time with one teacher. If it wasn't your homeroom then you had to sit on the floor (for like a 90 minute block) and it was totally miserable. As an adult I realize they must have done this so they could have long blocks of planning time. Looking back on it I have no idea how they got away with it.

    For whatever reason teachers have never done the departmentalizing/switching thing anywhere I've worked in my current state. We do have an intervention block at my school where all students attend a different small group. If they're going to a different classroom teacher, they line up outside of that teacher's door. If they're going to a specialist, we all have a spot we stand in the hallway and students line up there. We do not have them bring any supplies; they use the class set for whatever they need and then put the supplies back before the end of the lesson.

    We couldn't do this model this year due to cohorting rules. We're going back to it next year but there is no word about if we'll still have the ridiculous "no shared supplies" rule. That was such a PITA this year. If we still have that rule that will be another hurdle to figure out.
     
  5. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    May 15, 2021

    Now that I think about it, what my mom had at one school was the teacher-swap model. She taught everything (including art and music) except Greek and religion. The Greek language teacher would come around to each homeroom and the kids went to the chapel for religion class or mass. The Greek teacher used to steal her chalk, pens, and pencils. She had to put spare supplies in a locked desk drawer.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    May 16, 2021

    We’ve done teacher swap too. I dislike it, and I think it’s better for students to get up and move/stretch between subject changes. The con is that transition time takes much longer. Also I prefer to be in my own room with my own supplies.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    May 17, 2021

    We have always switched classes in grades 6-12. Students have lockers, and they visit those and use the restroom between classes. Breaks vary from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the year.

    Our kids (middle school) are sometimes restricted to certain times to visit lockers or use restrooms. That keeps down hallway congestion and other issues.

    For the past few years kids are in pods, two pods of four teachers for each grade level. The kids are sometimes mixed within pods, and sometimes not. This year kids travel together, and we walk them directly to the next class. They aren’t using lockers. We were all remote until January, then we’re hybrid 3/2. Now we are hybrid 1/4.
     
  8. Aces

    Aces Devotee

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    May 17, 2021

    I feel like ours is more complicated than it needs to be, but I think it was the better choice of the options we were given. Plus we’re aligned with the high school schedule.

    So on Mondays and Thursdays, we run a five period schedule. The other three days, we run a four period schedule. On Mon/Thurs, we have a shortened 1st period — called H period — which is only twenty minutes and is used as a home room period. Then periods 2-5 are slightly shorter to compensate for the home room period. Lunch is anyways during 3rd/4th periods, which is slightly longer to accommodate the 4 lunch periods. Our lunch blocks are based on grade level: all the sixth graders go to first lunch, all the seventh graders go to second lunch, then the eight graders split third/fourth lunch (we have four because it aligns with the high school).

    The schedule doesn’t rotate, so for instance 1st period if you have math, it’ll always be math. 2nd period will always be social studies, etc. Because if the length of the classes, per semester, you’ll have two core classes, and two elective classes. Again, this is aligned with the high school. The only difference is that their schedule rotates each day.

    We do have lockers for students to use, they’re issued on an “everybody gets one” basis, but not everyone uses it (it’s their choice). We do allow book bags in classrooms, but most teachers limit or have restrictions on when students can access them. That is a district policy, so that’s not something we can overrule. It’s technically a 5 minute break in between classes to use the restroom, fill up water bottles, go to lockers, etc. But students have 3 minutes after the bell before they’re considered late. They just have to be in their classroom before the third bell or they’re considered late.

    Additionally for the core subjects, we have four teams of teachers for each grade level. So then each grade level is divided as evenly as possible between the four teams for their grade level. So if you’re assigned to team 6A, all of your core teachers will be assigned to team 6A. As a teacher, all of your students are from the same team. There’s a bit of a competitive nature between the teams.

    I personally really like the schedule overall. The biggest plus is that we’re aligned with the high school schedule, even breaks, which really helps with the transition from eight grade to ninth. Another plus is that instead of two electives and four cores, students get an extra two electives.

    As far as cons, the biggest for me is the hybrid 4/5 period schedule. I’d rather it just be one or the other, I feel like it’s less confusing that way. It usually takes a bit of time to get used to it, and it’s shock to the system for incoming sixth graders.
     
  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    May 30, 2021

    Do you run into issues with timing the material to keep the classes in roughly the same place with the shortened periods? The school I did my student teaching at had us break for lunch in the middle of 5th period and that class was always behind the other sections just from losing time from the extra ins and outs. Lunch in the middle was a nightmare for a bunch of other reasons. They also did kind of a wonky time allotment where one day a week had an extra RTI period built into the schedule, so the other 7 periods were shortened by ten minutes, except their lunch hour. Sorting the kids into who's going where this week for RTI was also a mess.

    My high school did a model of block scheduling I've never seen anywhere else. Freshman and sophomore years you could choose to "block" your social studies and ELA classes only. Block was only offered 3/4 and 6/7 hours, so if you needed to take something else in those times, no blocking for you. It was double periods for a quarter instead of a semester with a break during the regular passing period. I loved it because we moved faster and I actually got a chance to pee. For me it was less homework time too since that meant 3 cores at a time and I was a fast reader. We also offered "combo" SS/ELA with a double period, double class, and double teachers in a big room with a removable wall. I would have hated it as a student, but I think I'd really like teaching it.
     
  10. Aces

    Aces Devotee

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    May 30, 2021

    The lunch block is slightly longer to compensate, and the other times (when we have the home room), it’s only five minutes from each of the other periods. So normally it’s not too bad.
     

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