I teach 6 classes of 6th grade math. Five of the periods are about 50 minutes long. No big deal. Unfortunately, there are 4 lunch waves during 5th period, and, since 4th period is when the 6th graders eat, 5th period ends up being 88 minutes long!!! Also, I think my 5th period kids are also my strongest performers! So now, the dilemma is trying to keep all my classes near the same content so they are just not so far ahead... If I keep going, they'll be chapters ahead!!! I've put in some break-time (3-5 minutes) but it still feels like 5th period gets two classes every day while everyone else gets one!! Does anyone else have this experience and how can I keep my kids from advancing too quickly?

When this happened to me, I would use the extra time to do non-social studies related stuff. So I would suggest that either you: A.) Do about 50-60 minutes on math and then transition to doing something else math related. You can allow the kids to play math games, work on independent math practice problems, group math projects, etc. B.) Or, you can use that time for non-math stuff, especially if your school does not do Homeroom/Advisory. Community building activities, personal skill building activities, study hall/silent reading, etc. can be done during that last 30 minutes.

You might want to find out from other teachers in your school how they handle the time discrepancy. Either of Go Blue!'s approaches could work. It would be prudent to run this by admin, though, especially if you'll have the kids working on something other than math, and possibly also to notify parents of the kids affected.

I might also suggest using the extra time for added enrichment. I'm not saying to move ahead with your curriculum so that they end up out of sync with the rest of the classes. What I mean is to use this time to go even deeper with these kids. Discuss derivations that you normally would skip, or, even better, have the students do the derivation as a discovery activity. Do projects involving the classroom content that require the students to synthesize information in some way. Take your topics to the next level.

I have this problem at my school. It is hard when you have almost two class periods and your trying to keep everyone on track. My plan last year was to just do more stuff with the content(It was world history) but it became a bit tedious to always try to find extra stuff for them to do within the context of what we were learning. What I'm going to do this year is move along the curriculum at whatever pace I can and at the end I'm going to do case studies for different court cases/ect. (I teach government this time during the long period) My school wouldn't like me allowing so much free time like what Go Blue suggested for his second suggestion. Although I'm sure my students would love to get their homework done during that time!

Add extras: a youtube video, a skit, first in math contests. Make them want to be in there for the duration.

Just a quick question, somewhat off topic - if the 6th graders eat during 4th period, what happens to that period for other teachers? Inquiring minds and all that stuff . . .

Here is the breakdown for 6th grade vs. 7th and 8th grade schedules. 6th grade 1st period - 48 minutes 2nd period - 48 minutes 3rd period - 48 minutes 4th period - 70 total minutes (22 reserved for lunch) - so really 48 minutes of instruction - the 7th and 8th graders have 70 minutes of class 5th period - 88 minutes (for 6th grade) - 66 minutes for 7th and 8th (with 22 minutes for lunch) 6th period - 48 minutes 7th period - 49 minutes

Is it just luck that all of your class eats during 4th period, or do all fifth period 6th grade classrooms share the same dilemma?

All the 6th grade teachers have the same issue.... I've brought it up with my neighbors and they say it's very difficult to keep them engaged for so long..... I've resorted to giving my 5th period extra bellwork problems that are much more difficult than what they really need to know (standards-wise) and giving them more time. For instance, every other class gets 3 problems while 5th period gets 6. And then, I delay going over the problems until maybe 15-20 minutes in while they are attempting and re-attempting the problems. Sometimes throw in a 2-3 minute break and some Channel One News (another 11 minutes), this might help...

Everyone has this much time so... 22 minutes each day for whole grade silent reading, read aloud, character building, etc.

Since you have all that extra time, and this class is your strongest class anyway, why don't you see if you can incorporate some seventh grade standards for this group?

I've been attempting to do this. For example, since the 6th grade standards do not list positive/negative numbers, I don't do them as much in the others except in 5th. And when it come to evaluating expressions, I throw in negative numbers multiplied to either + or - numbers and I just hammer the facts in their heads. Every day, I tell them, "Subtraction is just really addition of the opposite! Subtraction is really addition of the opposite." Then, we practice what I preach! I could involve + and - fractions and this would probably take 45 minutes to go over bellwork!

Get several copies of the game SET and have them play. I used to have a middle school class that had a whole period for math games (but just for one quarter of the year).

I like this idea. If this doesn't fly, I'd take advantage of the extra time for some really cool math experiments, hands-on activities and follow-ups. Do you have access to computers? They could make spreadsheet graphs of their findings and post them. It could inspire your other classes.