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Old 09-07-2011, 06:55 PM
 
2,596 posts, read 4,827,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
The great thing about block schedules is that it shows who all the bad teachers are. They're the ones who "run out of things to do". Good teachers never have enough time to teach.....
I agree that "running out of things to do" makes me want to do a face-palm. However, depending on the age of the student, you really do run into situations where the majority of kids just can't stay highly focused for that long. So while I could keep teaching without batting an eye for a blocked period, it's not uncommon that the kids shut down after awhile and even if they're still physically in the chair, they've hit that saturation point.

That said, there are positives to block scheduling. It's less time wasted on transition. You really have time to dig into things that you might only give a cursory glance to in a shorter period. Having that break of days in between classes can help you come to it with a fresher outlook.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:56 PM
 
11,151 posts, read 14,142,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
How do you meet requirements for graduation with only four classes per semester? Our kids need 3 years of science, 4 years of math, 4 years of language arts, 4 years of social science, PE, computers, and a total of 22 credits to graduate. While I'd LOVE the extra class time, I don't see how you could teach all the subjects you need to in four periods.
Seat time in each semester class is equivalent to a year's worth of seat time in a regular schedule. Students take (up to) four classes each semester, so they can earn eight credits per year, versus the seven available prior to switching to this system.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 30,724,367 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark of the Moon View Post
Seat time in each semester class is equivalent to a year's worth of seat time in a regular schedule. Students take (up to) four classes each semester, so they can earn eight credits per year, versus the seven available prior to switching to this system.
Do the teachers still get a prep? If they do, you've increased prep time to 1/4th of total class time. Instead of a teacher getting 50 minutes prep time a day, they're getting 75 minutes per day (assuming they changed from 7 50 minute periods to 4 75 minute periods. That would mean class sizes would have to go up or more teachers would have to be hired.

I think I could get used to this but I just don't see my students learning a year's worth of chemistry in one semester. They need time to digest the material. I wouldn't mind a schedule like this if you alternated days on an A/B schedule and took an entire year to teach the material. There are so many days when I'd love to have 10 more minutes and labs often go over into a second day (really costly on time when this happens due to having to stop and start again) because a 50 minute period just isn't enough for labs.

The charter school I taught in was on a mixed block/non block schedule with 7 hours and I really liked it. Monday's and Friday's all classes met for 50 minutes. On Tuesday-Thursday, 5 classes met each day for 72 minutes. That 22 minutes to wrap up a lab was priceless. There was a study hall thrown in on Wednesday so the hours worked out. During study hall, students were assigned to the teacher they needed the most help from. We actually had a little less class time than we would have on a straight 7 hour day but, for me, there was an efficiency in getting labs done in one day. If a lab goes into the second day, that day is shot. By the time the groups that didn't finish get set up again, half the period is already gone and they're often just finishing in time to clean up, wheras, 10 or 15 more minutes the previous day would have gotten them there.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 09-07-2011 at 07:32 PM..
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:44 PM
 
12,617 posts, read 28,091,807 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
The high school in our area has two semesters, four terms.

The kids have four class periods a day - each class period is 83 minutes long.

So their schedule for one term looks like this:

First Period - 83 minutes
Second Period - 83 minutes
Lunch - 40 minutes (off-campus)
Third Period - 83 minutes
Fourth Period - 83 minutes

My question is - are other high schools following schedules such as this, and if so - is it impossible to get a fourth period for your student? Our students are only scheduled three classes - first, second, and third periods. To get a fourth period, we are told by the counselor that parents must "fight" for a fourth period (the exact word she used) and this year we've been told "there aren't enough teachers for kids to have fourth period classes".

Really? Is this normal? Legal? For real?
I think a discussion of block scheduling would be very interesting, but let's get back to the OP for this thread. If someone would like to start a new discussion about that you can cut and paste your posts there and I'll delete them from this thread.

HHelf, I hope your son gets the scholarship to the private school. I have heard from another person in Oregon about how their child almost didn't graduate because they were missing a core class and not through any fault of their own. I like how our school mandates four years of the four core subjects because with reasonable grades all students will have the minimum requirements for our state colleges.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,046,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I think it's normal for block scheduling. I'm guessing that other core classes will be in the second semester. In our HS one must have four years of the core subjects to graduate, but you could double up in a couple of subjects and then not have that subject for one year. Our students must have their schedules okayed by their parents beforehand and that's done early in the year.
Yes, this is what I was thinking as well.

I do NOT like this type of block scheduling at all. If a school is going to do a full block, I would suggest that they have an alternating A/B schedule instead of a set of classes first semester and a different set second semester. Full block scheduling really messes up performing arts classes.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:26 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,962,236 times
Reputation: 10530
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Do the teachers still get a prep? If they do, you've increased prep time to 1/4th of total class time. Instead of a teacher getting 50 minutes prep time a day, they're getting 75 minutes per day (assuming they changed from 7 50 minute periods to 4 75 minute periods. That would mean class sizes would have to go up or more teachers would have to be hired.

I think I could get used to this but I just don't see my students learning a year's worth of chemistry in one semester. They need time to digest the material. I wouldn't mind a schedule like this if you alternated days on an A/B schedule and took an entire year to teach the material. There are so many days when I'd love to have 10 more minutes and labs often go over into a second day (really costly on time when this happens due to having to stop and start again) because a 50 minute period just isn't enough for labs.

The charter school I taught in was on a mixed block/non block schedule with 7 hours and I really liked it. Monday's and Friday's all classes met for 50 minutes. On Tuesday-Thursday, 5 classes met each day for 72 minutes. That 22 minutes to wrap up a lab was priceless. There was a study hall thrown in on Wednesday so the hours worked out. During study hall, students were assigned to the teacher they needed the most help from. We actually had a little less class time than we would have on a straight 7 hour day but, for me, there was an efficiency in getting labs done in one day. If a lab goes into the second day, that day is shot. By the time the groups that didn't finish get set up again, half the period is already gone and they're often just finishing in time to clean up, wheras, 10 or 15 more minutes the previous day would have gotten them there.
In the schools I know of that have block schedules the teachers do get one prep period, so that is longer, BUT they have more classes to prep for. Instead of teaching 5 units of history, they teach one block of history, one block of psychology and one block of geography, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I think a discussion of block scheduling would be very interesting, but let's get back to the OP for this thread. If someone would like to start a new discussion about that you can cut and paste your posts there and I'll delete them from this thread.

HHelf, I hope your son gets the scholarship to the private school. I have heard from another person in Oregon about how their child almost didn't graduate because they were missing a core class and not through any fault of their own. I like how our school mandates four years of the four core subjects because with reasonable grades all students will have the minimum requirements for our state colleges.
The OP was asking about block scheduling and how it works...she just didn't call it that. This thread is on topic. What she is experiencing with her son not getting into the classes he needs is very common in schools with block schedules.

From the Oregon Department of Education: Get Ready - Diploma Requirements - Oregon Department of Education

Credit Requirements (24 total)
English: 4 credits
Math: 3 credits (at the Algebra 1 level and higher)
Science: 3 credits (scientific inquiry, 2 with lab experiences)
Social Science: 3 credits
Health: 1 credit
PE: 1 credit
Second Language/Art/Career & Technical Education: 3 credits
Electives: 6 credits

In the OP's case it looks like her son is going to get his elective credits this year and over the next two years get the rest of his core requirements. The requirements for graduation don't usually state that they have to take one of these core classes every year--it just make sense to do it that way. Most likely what will happen is that next 2 years he will have all core classes so each semester he will have math, English, science, social...
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:56 PM
 
60 posts, read 247,699 times
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My high school switched to the 4-block schedule right before my junior year (freshman and sophomore, they did the usual seven classes per day thing). I absolutely loved 4-block. It allowed me to finish Spanish 3 and 4 my junior year, as well as cram in all four years of French (a language I still use daily) my last two years of high school, along with a year of German. I wouldn't have been able to do that on the old schedule. I did find that the 4-block gave us more homework. The teachers seemed to assume that because we were in class longer periods of time, they could assign us more homework. In theory, we were supposed to get time to work on it in class, but that never worked out. I was a good student, though, and didn't mind the extra work.

I really loved that schedule. My high school has since abandoned it, which made me really sad to hear.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,507,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraftySM View Post
My high school switched to the 4-block schedule right before my junior year (freshman and sophomore, they did the usual seven classes per day thing). I absolutely loved 4-block. It allowed me to finish Spanish 3 and 4 my junior year, as well as cram in all four years of French (a language I still use daily) my last two years of high school, along with a year of German. I wouldn't have been able to do that on the old schedule. I did find that the 4-block gave us more homework. The teachers seemed to assume that because we were in class longer periods of time, they could assign us more homework. In theory, we were supposed to get time to work on it in class, but that never worked out. I was a good student, though, and didn't mind the extra work.

I really loved that schedule. My high school has since abandoned it, which made me really sad to hear.

My son loved his block scheduling too He found the time involved in each class really allowed for a thorough understanding of the subject matter and interaction with his teacher and peers.

I simply don't understand some posters here saying that "kids can't concentrate that long" or "get bored". My son and his friends certainly were able to enjoy the longer classes
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:27 PM
 
6,034 posts, read 13,126,721 times
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I had no idea how insightful and interesting this thread would become! I really appreciate everyone who has replied. We are waiting to hear back about the partial scholarship. I have applied for a few jobs, too. So wish me luck. Meanwhile, I have been researching other smaller public high schools in our area. This current school has over 1500 students and I'm not sure if I mentioned before but they just had to lay off 8 teachers due to budget issues. This is supposedly the number two public high school in the state of Oregon but honestly I think it has gotten too big for its britches...

It's not so much the block scheduling that we find ridiculous - though we aren't a fan - it's the no fourth period class issue and the inconcistencies regarding the core classes. The school has other issues, too but that's another thread!

Oregon schools were wonderful for elementary and middle school... but our experience with high school has been a real eye opener.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:25 PM
 
16,587 posts, read 14,063,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovesMountains View Post
My son loved his block scheduling too He found the time involved in each class really allowed for a thorough understanding of the subject matter and interaction with his teacher and peers.

I simply don't understand some posters here saying that "kids can't concentrate that long" or "get bored". My son and his friends certainly were able to enjoy the longer classes
I have no idea why people think that either.

They are just in one 80 minute period instead of back to back 40 min ones. What is the difference?

Second, block schedule is NOT successful if the only instruction that occurs is lecture. Pure lecture isn't successful even in 40 minutes but generally traditional periods do not allow the time to transition into other types of instruction while still making clear connections to the rest of the class.

I am going to go make a block scheduling thread.
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