Transitioning to Block Scheduling

Discussion in 'General Education' started by morningcoffee, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. morningcoffee

    morningcoffee New Member

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    Jun 5, 2014

    Hello all, I stepped into a job last January teaching 7th grade Language Arts and have been re-hired for this next year:cool:. However, the school is changing from 50 minute periods to a block of 1 hour and 30 minutes. In addition, I am not just teaching Grammar and Writing, I will be teaching Literature as well (which I am excited about):2up:.

    My question is how do those that have the amount of time I will have divide it up per class? How much Grammar and Writing? How much Literature? What is a better focus now that we are also switching to CCSS? :dunno:

    Thanks for any and all replies.:help:
    MC
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 5, 2014

    I observed a very successful block scheduled middle school English class. It was probably the most effective block class I've ever seen. The desks were in arranged 4 large groups and the students rotated every 20 minutes. Each station had a purpose. Grammar. Spelling. Reading. Writing. The time flew by. The students seemed to like the routine. It was such a pleasure.
     
  4. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Jun 7, 2014

    I'm in the opposite situation. I've always taught in block schedules, and I am starting at a new school in the Fall with a traditional schedule.

    I've always enjoyed the luxury of extra time. In a block, I try to divide the period into thirds; one third lecture, one third group or pair work, one third on some other type of activity.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 7, 2014

    I've taught on a block schedule for nearly my entire career (20+ years)! A general rule of thumb is to change activities at least every twenty minutes or so, but I often change more frequently than that. The hardest part for most teachers new to the schedule is fitting in all of the content. They tend to fall in to the trap of doing the same 50 minute lesson they did before and then use the other 20-30 minutes for homework or class work. You have to really plan out your year ahead of time and make sure your sticking to your schedule.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Jun 7, 2014

    It seems as they are trying to transition from the junior high format to the new and innovative middle school format. Usually that means blocks and teacher teams. Some have really good structures where they are flexible with time and teachers who don't need as much time per day can give the teachers that are covering more extensive lessons block times.

    We just learned about the different formats of block scheduling in my middle school organization class. Having a specific major just for middle school teachers has been rather helpful.
     
  7. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jun 8, 2014

    morningcoffee, you will love this, in fact, I'm retiring because admin changed our blocks to seven - fifty minute classes.

    Every Monday morning I spent time interviewing each student about their reading in which I kept in a log. The log provided info on how often they abandoned a novel, what page they were on which made them want to read & held them accountable for independent reading, and they read more than any group of students I've ever had.

    We did Close Reading the rest of the week during the first half of the block and then we wrote about what we read the second half or they worked on a writing of their choice which I used writing conferences about every other week. I did mini "English" lessons based on their writing.

    Enjoy! Let me know if you'd like more specifics.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2014

    I'm teaching summer school in a block format. I actually only have 1 class of 2 hours (after that it's independent study appointments).
    I'm doing things very differently then in my regular classes, obviously, and it will be a big jump for my students going from 48 minute classes to 120.

    I am just planning now all the details and have changed them from what my principal originally suggested.
    She said to do the main lesson during the first hour, because by the second hour the students won't be quite that alert.
    This is the content I have planned: read a novel(with short stores), discuss and answer questions, reflections, vocabulary development, and weekly quizzes, all this related to the novel.
    Then the second hour I was going to do current events (either watch the news, or read articles) and do basic grammar with quizzes on Fridays.
    2-4 essays during the 4 weeks.

    Now that I was actually working out the details, I feel that it's better to spend 2 hours on reading and answering all the questions, because the stories are short enough to finish in 1 hour and then it's better to do the questions, discussions, etc in the next hour, instead of leaving it for the next day. So this way 1 day will be novel and all related activities, the next current events and grammar.
    I have to see how it will work out, I have an idea of how long the reading will take, but I could be wrong.
    If it works out, I might do this during the school year, even though I will be back to the 48 minutes (alternate assignments)

    To answer your original question, I would probably spend 35% on literature, 20 % on informational materials, 30 % on writing, and 15 percent on grammar.
     
  9. MsDouglas

    MsDouglas Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2014

    I teach on a block schedule and I highly suggest changing every 20-30 minutes. You'll find that you will start losing your students after this time. I like the station ideas. I would also change things up every couple of days. If you keep the same format the time starts to stretch on forever. You may have to rethink your classroom management to account for students who give up after an hour. Keeping them engaged the entire time will be a challenge. I suggest over planning.
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jun 26, 2014

    I love this! I've always wanted to try it, but the other teacher never wanted to. I'm going to push for this model this year!
     
  11. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 26, 2014

    I want to try it too for my math tutorials. It's going to take some extra planning to get started, but I think we will get more done, even with the transitions. Also, it builds in that stand up and stretch time that I often forget they need.
     
  12. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Jun 26, 2014


    Did they do this every day or a few days per week?
     

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