Planning for 90-minute periods

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by zmp2018, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    Hi, all!

    I’m getting ready to begin my semester of student teaching at the end of this month. I am really excited for it. The school district is nice, and my mentor teacher seems like a great person.

    My biggest worry is planning 90-minute periods. The way my school does it is the kids have six 90-minute classes per day, and they’re the same classes each day, so I will see the same students each day. Last semester, I did my pre-service student teaching in a district that had seven 50-minute periods each day. I felt that 50 minutes was a good amount of time for a lesson, but I’m worried about teaching for 90 minutes. This is my first experience with block scheduling, and it’s somewhat intimidating. For those of you that have or had block scheduling, how do/did you fill the time? I will be teaching English.

    I’m sure my mentor teacher will give me guidance on planning for this amount of time, but block scheduling is really daunting at the moment.


    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I student taught last year and had 70 minute periods. At first, I thought 70 minutes would be too long, but class actually felt very short to me and I often wished I had more time.

    What grade level are you teaching? I teach math, so I do not know much about English, but I would say that you should plan a few different activities a day. For example, you could start with a warm up, teach a vocabulary lesson, have a class discussion, and have students write independently. I find that changing activities allows students to stay focused. I would recommend following your mentor teacher's structure for the most part because she might already have something in place. I did not agree with everything my mentor did, but I basically followed the structure of her class (Do Now, Direct Instruction, Classwork) as I knew I would be able to do more of what I wanted in my own classroom!
     
  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  5. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    I student taught 6th grade language arts with 90 min. blocks. The way that we did it was split the blocks, 1 half focused on reading and the other half writing. Just make sure you have more than enough planned, there is nothing worse than dead time! Once you get used to it, it is actually wonderful. Like Leaborb said, there were many days where I didn't get through everything either!
     
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  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  7. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    My plan would be finding a district that has shorter class periods----90 minutes is too long for me!
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I teach English. When I was on a block schedule, I usually cut it into two big chunks of reading and writing. Then I chunked from there. I tried to rarely have one activity go longer than 20 Minutes, and I tried to have at least one activity where they were up and moving around. This wasn't always possible but it helped for sure.
    I did occasionally have extra time. I always used that to play a vocabulary review game. I also tried to do independent reading time most days, too.
    The most helpful things for sure we're getting them up and moving about halfway through the block and changing activities with some frequency. Even with 45 minute periods now, I still try to keep those things in mind.
     
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  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Are you sure they're going to have six 90-minute periods per day? That just doesn't sound right.
     
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  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Our middle and high schools are all at 50 minute periods. I just can't imagine 90 minutes unless it's some sort of block scheduling where you only see them Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, for example.
     
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  11. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    Now that I think of it, I’m sure it’s more like four. Not sure where I got six because that does not add up to a 7-hour school day.

    I need to get a copy of the bell schedule the next time I have a meeting with my mentor. Unfortunately, the school does not post it online.
     
  12. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    I was under the impression that it was the same classes per day, but now I’m doubting myself. That’s what my mentor made it seem. I came from a high school that had the traditional schedule, so I’m very confused.
     
  13. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    I will be teaching seventh grade.
     
  14. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Chunking, chunking, chunking. A good rule of thumb is to budget one minute of attention span for every year of age. So for 7th graders, this rule suggests 12-13 minute chunks. More realistically, I would recommend you chunk using 5, 10, 15, and 20 minute intervals, with 20 minutes being the absolute max and not used often.
     
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  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I loved my 100 minute 7th grade classes.

    Every day we had 20 minutes of independent reading/reading skill small-group mini lessons, 5 to 10 minutes of a bell ringer, and reading & writing the rest of the time.

    I hated going back to 60 minutes.
     
  16. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I was going to reply to this thread earlier but the train schedule for the thoughts wouldn't get worked out enough to reply. Anywho...

    We have four 85 mins of instructional time blocks (third period is longer because of lunch, but still 85 mins of instructional time). We're supposed to use the first 15 minutes for "bell work" aka mind numbing insanity I'm going to have to grade. Instead I use the 15 minutes to discuss world events, what's going on, maybe the quote for the week, etc. Just something to get the mind flowing.

    Then I spend ten minutes talking about the lab our goals or whatever. Just something to shift the mind from whatever into learning mode. Then I spend the remaining sixty minutes working on the lab. They might be talking notes, demonstrations, or whatever the case may be.
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I student taught 90 minute block classes (middle school English). I currently have 60 minute classes and have taught 48 - 55 minute classes.
    I think 90 minutes is not so bad for English (I wouldn't mind) because you can do so much.
    In a 90 minute classes you can actually finish reading a short story and discuss and answer questions, and not have to split it and continue the next day.
    I would do: vocabulary - concept (for example theme), read the story, stop, discuss, - answer questions - do a quick writing assignment (response to a question about the story, etc). This can all fit in 1 class.
    It might be a good idea to have them do 20 minutes independent reading at the beginning of each class - this gets them to calm down, concentrate and you start the class out right.

    I also agree with chunking, make sure you don't do the same thing for more than 15-20 minutes. You should never just read, read, read (regardless of class time), always stop to discuss, answer questions, etc.
    Try to vary the assignments, even get them up and moving.
     
  18. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Can you please be more specific and break down what you did and for how long? Thanks so much!
     
  19. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Sure! It's been a little bit, so there might be a few gaps here!

    For the first 20 minutes, we did "Book Time" where students would read a book of their choice, while I would run down the list to conference with each student about the progress of their book. For the remainder of the first "period" we would either work on a whole-class novel or work on story elements.

    The students would then take a quick restroom break, and for the second "period" we would focus on writing. Some of the things that we would do is teaching about the different types of essays, students work on writing their essays if they were assigned one, free write, grammar, and Writers' Workshop.

    Honestly, I am way more of a reading person, so reading would carry over into the next period a lot of times, but the intention is to split the two equally! :)
     
  20. ssgirl11

    ssgirl11 Companion

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    Every middle school that I have seen has had 2 math and language arts teachers so they are able to do the blocked classes, and see the same kids everyday. It might be the same set up!
     
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  21. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    I got confirmation earlier that I will see the same students every day.
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    That sounds like a very long school day!
     
  23. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    I had 90 minutes every day same kids. This year we have them every other day for 90. I prefer every day cause I forget where we left off! I hated it until I loved it. And everyone has already said it - chunk chunk chunk! I did my reading 2nd half so that way if students finished writing early they could go straight into reading. And reading became the "reward." I'm in HS. the only thing that ever went over 20 minutes were their discussions that sometimes got really heated. If they got off task I cut short, but if they got into it, we were sometimes able to go longer. Still, 20 minutes as about when all of our brains dance off to thoughts of food or other topics.
    The plus side - my conference period also 90 minutes!
     
  24. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Sounds great-thank you for the response!
     
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