Structure of Your Middle School

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by tewidma, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. tewidma

    tewidma New Member

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    Nov 19, 2011

    Hello Everyone!!

    I am currently student teaching in a junior high in the Chicago suburbs of Illinois. I was wondering what the structure of the middle school you work at is like.

    For example, do you have block scheduling? Looping? Do students attend homeroom? How long are the periods of the day? Are students differentiated by subjects? Are electives or foreign languages offered?

    It is interesting to hear about how different schools work, and I was especially curious about schools that may be in more urban areas, or rural areas!

    If you could fill me in on how your school works, that would be awesome!

    Thanks :)
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Nov 19, 2011

    I work in a low income rural middle school. We have hour long periods, and students attend each of their core classes everyday (math, science, language arts, social studies). I am a special education teacher, and I teach a 2 hour block of Language Arts, so my students get a double dose of reading and writing everyday. They have homeroom in their first period class. We have some electives, like art, home ec and gym. We also have a class that prepares students for college and careers (they practice things like keeping a budget, applying for a job, etc). We used to have foreign languages but those were phased out with budget cuts.
     
  4. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I work in a urban public all-boys middle school 6-8th grade. He have 60 min blocks, 20 mins of lunch, and 30 min of the school wide reading program. The students don't have a homeroom. But they are own teams in which they switch for language arts, math, science, and social studies. This year they have A/B day for their related arts (elective) for their 1st period. So they can be taking two related art classes per six-week. This year is the first year that we offered Spanish. For related arts, we have visual art, arts and humanities, band, orchestra, PE, health, Computer technology, and other electives.

    I wished that he had classes like home ec, wood/mechanic shop, and other classes to prepare for trade school. We are becoming a magnet for engineering to partner with an high school in which most of our middle school school students attend
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 20, 2011

    We've used just about every configuration you could imagine! I've been at that school for 19 years, and we have a different schedule every year.

    Here is what it's like this year.

    We have three grade-level teams. Each team has 2 language arts teachers, 2 math teachers, 1 social studies teacher, and 1 science teacher. Language arts and math meet for 90 minutes every day, all year long. Science and social studies meet by semesters or alternate days . . . different teams do it differently. All students get a long (60 minute) and short (30 minute) exploratory class that rotates every 9 or every 4.5 weeks. All math classes are ability grouped. Everyone gets a 30 minute reading class once a day. Those are ability grouped as well. We have two RtI teachers, one for math and one for reading.

    We've tried gender grouping math and language, which I absolutely LOVED. We've tried class sizes varying from 45 minutes to 100 minutes, and I love the longest ones. Some years the kids stay together all day long for core classes, and then they are mixed up for exploratory classes.

    We're a rural, high-poverty area.
     
  6. tewidma

    tewidma New Member

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    Nov 21, 2011



    Are there special classes or a special design that make the school a magnet school? I'm not too familiar with the concept
     
  7. tewidma

    tewidma New Member

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    Nov 21, 2011

    Thanks for responding!!

    Is your language arts block just students with special needs or is it a mixed class? Would you say that there are any distinguishing characteristics or differences with rural schools opposed to schools in a more suburban area?
     
  8. tewidma

    tewidma New Member

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    Nov 21, 2011

    Thanks for the response!

    Gender grouping sounds interesting... how did that work out? Why did the school decide to change it? Long blocks of classes always seem to be beneficial as well.

    Is your school large? How large are class sizes typically? Does your school draw students from a wide range of places?
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 21, 2011

    I loved gender grouping. I had the boys. They were amazing. Even when they were ornery, they were still fun. They don't act nearly as stupid without the girls around. :lol: We can't always offer gender grouping due to other circumstances in scheduling.

    Two of my classes have special needs students. I'm supposed to have a special education teacher in my classroom daily for about half of the time, but one of my cooperating teachers refuses to darken my door. :rolleyes:

    I've never taught anywhere other than a rural school. Even my student teaching was in a rural school, although much more "city" than my current school. It's still far, far from urban. I have no point of comparison.

    Our school district consists of one pre-k/k center, two 1-5 elementary schools, one 6-8 middle school, and one 9-12 high school. We have students for the entire county. There are between 125-225 students in each grade level. Most years my classes are between 18-15 students. This year they have soared to 35 per class, which I hate. That is way too many kids that age in one room. I do love the long classes, though.
     
  10. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2011

    We are currently a magnet for a single-gender school. Certain schools have a specialization (or in other words become a magnet school). We have a middle school for visual and performing arts, middle school for science, etc....the curriculum is the same, there are special education teachers in all schools. It is just an emphasis on certain subjects----ex. science teachers can try to incorporate examples of visual arts within their curriculum at the magnet of visual and performing arts.
     
  11. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2011

    The boys and girls were separated in the school building. However, scores for reading and math were still low at my school and another middle school a couple of years ago. Then, they decided to split between two schools----one for boys and one for girls to increase test scores.
     
  12. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Nov 22, 2011

    I am in a small rural district. We have about 400 students pre k - 12th grade. Our elementary school consists of pre-K through 6th grade. The two 6th grade teachers share responsibilities. One teaches math and science, the other teaches language arts and social studies. The teachers change rooms, the students don't.
    The junior high is 7th and 8th grade. These kids have 7 different classes during the day, each about 44 minutes long. We don't offer a homeroom. All junior high students take keyboarding, FACS, Ag, Spanish, and either chorus or band.
     

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