Long periods - not engaging students well

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherguy111, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2013

    Hey guys,
    I am new to an excellent STEM school in a big city. We have very long periods here (1 hour 45 minutes).... I am finding it hard to keep students engaged for this long. I teach middle school English. I know some people would love to have this much time to plan and do all they want etc, but I am finding it hard to keep them excited and engaged for that long everyday.

    What kind of things can I do to keep them active and engaged during these lessons. I have one class that is VERY squirrely .... I know they would probably benefit from more group activities, hands on stuff etc, but they are so hard to keep under control that I sometimes don't even want to try anything new.
     
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  3. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Oct 7, 2013

    Your problem sounds EXACLTY like mine except our classes are 95 minutes. After about 45 to 60 minutes, students really start to "lose it" but I know many math and English teacher really wanted the extra time. I would much rather teach six 45 minute periods a day than three 95 minutes.

    I have no solutions but I wish you good luck!:)
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Oct 7, 2013

    You need to have at least 5 different things to do each day. 1 hour 45 min is a lot, I used to have 90 min which I LOVED.

    Here's basically what I would do:
    -Warm up (15 min or so)
    -Introduce new information (20-30 min)
    -Activity on new information (15-20 min) [this can be worksheets, diagrams, mini research, articles, discussions, etc)
    -New vocab activity (10-15 min)
    -Closing activity (10-15 min)
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  6. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2013

    For my block days (English teacher also), I'll typically structure it something like this.
    Warm up - 5 min
    Grammar activity - 15 min
    Reading of some sort - 25 min with "share with your partner" discussions in between.
    Questions - 10 min
    Some sort of group project, poster, presentation, etc - 20 min
    Quickwrite - 10 min

    I definitely agree you need at least 5 different activities, 2-3 of which need to be moving/talking types of activities. To sit and read and write for almost two hours is ridiculous - I can't even do that without getting squirrely
     
  7. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Oct 7, 2013

    oh wow, I have the opposite problem. I teach 4th math/science and my first core is 125 minutes! My 2nd core is 105 minutes! Granted it's two subjects. With that said, I RUN out of time on most days doing JUST math. I have to force science in 2-3 x's a week for about 30 minutes each time. The rest of the time I'm scrambling around like a chicken with my head cut off just trying to get all I planned for one day into two days!

    I guess that goes to show, that both ways (too much time/not enough) are equally as bad :)
     
  8. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2013

    The structure of my class is similar to those above. I love the look of those two books. My school doesn't have textbooks so it would help me a ton. Every student has a laptop which helps also.

    We use google docs for almost everything too. Don't print very often at all.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Oct 7, 2013

    The books are awesome.
    Very structured. I followed the first few lessons exactly, but then learned how to tweak them for the needs of my students. I put a lot of the text info into PowerPoints to guide students through the process.

    Also, this isn't necessarily a way to fill the class, but if all of your students have laptops, check out the free version of Canvas. It is AWESOME. http://www.instructure.com ... a fabulous CMS that is FREE!
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Oct 7, 2013

    Have you tried Socratic Seminars?
    A Google search will get you started.
     

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