Sunday, April 12, 2009

Post #19 - Q&A

Has it really been so long? My apologies! How time does slip away... That's the cry of every teacher, isn't it?

Do you prefer block scheduling (4 classes/day) or traditional scheduling (6-7 classes/day)?

Our county is changing graduation requirements, but in order to do so, they need to fit more classes into the schedule. They want to move to a modified block schedule that involves 7 classes year-round, meeting every other day, except for a specific day each week, where you will meet with ALL classes ...or something like that. To be honest, every time I hear about their ideas for "modified" block, it seems to change.

The main issue we teachers have with it is this: they will reduce our planning period and increase our prep. We will get an extra class (6)*, and if they have a modified block that means our planning periods will be every other day.

I attended high school on a block schedule 4x4...4 classes in the fall, 4 classes in the spring. I student taught on block schedule...I have taught 2 years now on traditional. I prefer block. This idea of modified block makes me want to tear my hair out, quite honestly. It is my plan to write a letter to our school board soon, voicing my support for block scheduling. It will be difficult not to ramble!

What's your opinion?

* see comments for further explanation. Sorry for the confusion!


  1. Wow, I agree...modified block would make me want to pull my hair out, too! I have never heard of a modified block schedule version before.

    I have taught in both 7 periods/day and 4X4 block schedules, and I think there are definite pros/cons to both --- though like you, I feel I personally like block better. The biggest difference I have found between the two (and especially as a new teacher) is that with the 7 periods schedule, I am able to tweak things that didn't go as planned more quickly (if that makes sense -- more reactionary I guess), whereas with block, I am thinking and thinking (you've read my posts --- you know I'm Ms. Analytical, ha!) until the end of the day when I teach the same section. But with block, I feel that I am able to cover a wide range of activities/lessons in one chunk of time and the students are more engaged because we are moving through different activities.

    I don't know what I would do with a modified schedule. To cut out planning, meeting every other, yeah. I will be interested to hear how things turn out!

  2. We're on semester blocks, and I think for most classes it works better overall, especially because the administration wants us to use "workshop" format, and you really need a good 75-80 minutes MINIMUM. However, if you have a student who has English I fall semester and English II spring semester, they go Jan-Dec in between with all that time to forget. ;p

    The other issue for me is that I have the yearbook class, which means I get a whole new crop of students in January, when we're SMACK in the middle of deadlines. Bligh!

  3. Quick question - how is seven classes year-round ADDING classes if the previous version was four in the fall and four in the spring??

  4. Good question, guess I didn't make that clear.

    I mean "adding" classes as in teachers would have more classes at the same time. Four per semester with one planning period means I only have 3 classes a day.

    The seven-class modified block that they are coming up with would give us one planning period and 6 classes continuously through the year. That is one additional class more than we have now with only one planning period. We would have a planning period every other day.

    I look at it as "more" in regards of planning period ratio: 3:1 with 4x4, 6:1 with modified block. I would still ultimately teach 6 classes a year, but I wouldn't have all those students at the same time.

  5. I realized that - but I thought they were saying that their reason for doing that was because the district was changing the graduation requirements and students needed more classes.

    Our district proposed something similar and it just seems like it'd be worse for everyone. Students lose one credit opportunity per year, and teachers lose half their planning!