Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: Block Scheduling

Block scheduling. You either get one of two reactions; "it's great" or "what am I supposed to do with these kids for 100 minutes?". Glendora High School is putting in block scheduling for next year, but that really isn't the reason for this post. It is the comment made by this school board member;
"Because you're only going to classes three times a day, it gives you so much more opportunity to go through material and go through all aspects of that material," said school board member Denice Delgado. "It would be akin to saying I'm going to college." First of all, if you take a college course 3 times a week the classes are about an hour to maybe an hour and 15 minutes long, not an hour 40 minutes. Secondly, some of those students need to see the material daily. Let's say someone has a class on Monday and then again on Wednesday, those students most likely won't do the homework until Tuesday night. That means they have already gone more than 24 hours without reinforcing the lecture.

I know this first hand because our school has been doing a 2 day a week block. And when my Algebra B students have me Monday and then not again til Wednesday, they tell me they don't even look at math and they forget the material.

But the real gem from the school board was this one;
"We really saw the value of the block schedule and the instruction taking place and the connecting that was happening between students and teachers," Lopez said of the schools they visited. "I can say pretty confidently that 100 percent of our staff is now on board."
That's right she thinks that all the staff is behind this. Now I am pretty sure this is political spin because there is no way EVERY teacher is behind this. At our school we have about 100 teachers and I know of about 10-15 that hate block. There has to be at least 5 teachers aren't questioning this and think it's a bad idea at Glendora High.

Unfortunately, I doubt they will change the schedule. 15 years ago our school introduced block. The principal at the time had to have the staff vote 3 times before he got the votes needed to do it. He said at the end of the initial year there would be another vote to see if the staff wanted to keep it. I will just say that 15 years later, the staff is still waiting to vote.


Ricochet said...

Block scheduling can be wonderful. My children went through a 4X4 block all through high school. 4 classes in the fall, 4 in the spring. It worked for both of them although they are very different. Oldest could focus on 4 classes but more would have given her trouble. (Bright, not a good student). Younger thrived on the fact he could take so many different courses.)

We have been doing a mixed bag - some block (110 minutes) and some not (55 minutes). We are going back to most math classes being yearlong because block doesn't give them time to absorb the work. My son could - most can't.

Mr. W said...

that's a really interesting schedule. All of our classes are year long, but the number of times you meet changes.
Monday, Thursday, Friday: periods 1 - 6
Tuesday: per. 1,3,5
Wednesday: 2,4,6

It sucks... well it has its benefits, but when you have the lower level students it's difficult to keep them engaged for the whole time. Most teachers don't like it and we are trying to convince our principal to look into changing it.