Opposite of "Teaching in the Block?"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by silverspoon65, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2009

    There are all these books out about Teaching in the Block, probably focused on the movement to the 90 minute period 10 or so years ago. However, now I am noticing a shift back to general scheduling. The job I will take this year has a regular schedule.

    I have only been teaching for 7 years and I have only taught in the block. I need a book about how to teach in 45 min periods! Do any exist?
     
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  3. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jun 27, 2009

    I don't know of any books about it, but I taught middle school science both ways this year. I had 90 minute classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 45 minute classes the rest of the week. Some tips for teaching in 45 minutes:

    - 45 minute classes fly by compared to 90 minute classes! Practice transitions between activities with your students (collecting papers, getting out supplies, entering the room, etc) to minimize transition time and maximize learning time.

    - 45 minute classes need shorter, tighter objectives that can be accomplished with one or two activities. Make sure you know what your goal is for each class because there is no time to fumble around.

    - Be organized and have all of your teaching materials ready before class because there is no time to send a student for copies or for any materials you forgot.

    I don't know whether I liked 45 minute or 90 minute classes better. I liked having the time to do longer activities and labs, but holding student interest for 90 minutes was sometimes difficult. On the other hand, continuing an activity on the next day after a 45 minute class wasn't ideal, and 45 minutes wasn't always enough time to explain complicated concepts, such as mitosis. I think the best amount of time for a class in middle school would be 60-70 minutes.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2009

    I can't offer you book suggestions, but can I tell you that I'm about to start my 19th year teaching, and I've only NOT been on block for 3 of those years (the first year, and 2 years in the middle). I've been in three districts and 3 schools, too! I can't seem to get away from the block. LOL. No one around here still does it, and no other school in my district does it but mine. :/
     
  5. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Maybe with so many schools switching back to traditional, I should write a book!

    My new school has some crazy schedule where every 6 days, 2 days will be block, odds on one day and evens on the other, so you at least have the opportunity to do a longer lesson once in awhile. I think I am going to love those days for awhile. I actually overplan for my 90 min classes now. And what about tests? When I give an essay test, it typically takes the class at least 3/4 of the block - most can't finish in 45 minutes. Do I make it 2 days?
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Can't you give your tests on the 90 minute days? Or just make a shorter test?
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Shorter - I don't know. A lot of times its already just one question. It just takes them an hour to answer it well. Plus time for instructions... I dunno. Giving it on the 90 min day is a possibility but seems like a waste of those days...
     
  8. JennM

    JennM Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2009

    Silverspoon, I would say for a test in high school, you could probably spread them over two days. I taught high school English at one point and every unit test was a 2-day mission. The first day was identification (on characters or terms), comprehension (usually I made this matching), and quotes (short answer questions). The second day was the essay portion. We had 45-min. periods and most of the students finished. In fact, most of them liked having the test in two parts, because it was easier for them to study. If they didn't finish the essays I told them to outline what point they would have included at the end in bullets so I could give them credit for having known the information. This year, though, I have block scheduling, so I guess I will be making the kids have both parts in one day! Killer!
     

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