Monday, February 02, 2009

My Middle School Block Scheduling Hypothesis

Maybe it was seeing all those "Science Fair" tri-folds last week in the gym at my school. I've been constructing little charts in my mind over the subject of "block scheduling" all weekend.

The little visual ditty above is my personal feeling about how long middle school classes should be. It's based simply on my interaction with 12-14 year-olds for quite a few years now, and I admit I have no "studies that show the figures above to be true" or anything. I'm just pulling it out of my daydreaming, rusty rat-trap brain.

My school's "scheduling committee" is still in a maelstrom of angst about what to do for next year. We have found the District to be of little help (with its focus on high school), and we're kinda flailing around at this point. But wait until they see this little crappy, un-scientific chart! We could really use an 8th grader with a killer scheduling tri-fold at this point.

I think 70 minutes per class periods are optimal, and things go downhill fast if you go longer than that. Your mileage may vary, and it seems several teachers at my school think my mileage is way, way off. Oh well. If Congress making legislation is like making sausage, school "scheduling committees" are like making head cheese. Or fruitcake. Something equally disgusting and generally undesired.

P.S.: If you even want to have your faith restored in middle school humanity, check out the school Science Fair. It's great seeing all those kids in front of all those tri-folds talking with all those great judges who take time to help out.


Anonymous said...

I once read, and it seemed pretty true to me; a child's attention span in minutes is roughly the same as their age in years.

This might not be so bad, except that it is so hard to get them back on task.

Angelfinder08 said...

I think 90 minutes of lecture is too long for any student, but if there are projects, activities or discussion for part of this time block--I think it works to cement the lecture ideas into the child's mind. The thing is, some teachers still think they have to teach the way they always have--lecture. New ideas and innovations could be brought in if they were open to it.

Anonymous said...

Question for you...our school is being forced into some kind of block scheduling. Can you direct me or send me a copy of your schedule?