Teaching inside the block


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Block Scheduling

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Teaching inside the block

  1. 1. Teaching Inside The Block Karen Brooks 9/4/13
  2. 2. Types of Block Scheduling • A/B Alternate Day Schedule • 4/4 Semester Block • Trimester Block – not very common
  3. 3. A/B
  4. 4. 4 X 4
  5. 5. Implementation & Research • Takes about 2 years of implementation to gain full support from the educational community. • It changes the school environment positively, especially in the form of fewer disciplinary referrals. • Over time the school day becomes less stressful for both the teachers and the students. • Ongoing Staff development over the implementation period is essential for success. • Lecturing for large amounts of time can be a major problem and is not effective. • Very few schools return to the single period schedule after adoption of a block schedule.
  6. 6. Sir Ken Robinson – TED TALK http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html OR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
  7. 7. Here is the sample planning (San Ysidro High School) Block Schedule (120 Minutes) • Skill/Concept Review.............................................10-15 minutes Great time for a quick formative assessment: Quick write Word sort Cloze activity HINTS! Take attendance and collect homework during this time! • Direct Instruction.................................................30-40 minutes Interactive lecture (i.e.: 10/2 or "Chunk and Chew" format) Video with Cornell note taking (with discussion during or afterward) Shared reading or Read aloud of text Introduction of new concept or skill with handouts or student note taking • Shared practice.......................................................20 minutes Small groups work collectively on task to practice skill or concept presented during Direct Instruction time. Stategies: Guided Reading Numbered heads Writing task Jigsaw • Individual Practice...............................................20-30 minutes Standards-based assignment work time Opportunity for individual conferencing Opportunity for students to clarify progress on tasks • Closure/ Reflection...............................................10-15 minutes ==> Metacognitive Journalo (What did I learn/ How did I learn it? / How will I use it?) ==> Reflection on a reading completed in class ==> Time for students to set up for homework
  8. 8. Instructional Strategies
  9. 9. Instructional Strategies for Reading at the High School Level http://central.laramie1.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=23783 • Pre reading 1- 36 • During reading 1- 31 • After Reading 1-28 • Discussion Strategies 1-9
  10. 10. Continuously engage students in active learning. • Think-pair-share. The teacher poses a question and asks each student to think about appropriate solutions. Students are next asked to discuss potential answers with a partner. Finally, the teacher calls on students randomly or asks for responses from volunteers. • Learning journals. Students can routinely write new concepts they have learned in daily journals. They should be prompted to focus on connecting this new information to previous topics or other interdisciplinary areas, and to write down the concepts they still have not mastered. Guided notes. Teachers can prepare handouts that summarize the lesson's major concepts, with significant portions left blank for students to complete during the lecture. • Active questioning. Asking questions of individuals is an excellent way to determine if a student understands the concept being presented, but this is an extremely inefficient method for assessing all students' levels of understanding. Teachers can pose questions to the class, allow sufficient wait-time, then call for "thumbs up-thumbs down" responses from everyone. Students can raise their left or rights hands to answer true-false questions, or can call out or display numbers that correspond to the correct answer in multiple-choice questions. The point is, all students are involved, and the teacher has a quick and accurate method to assess student mastery of new material. • Teachers should embrace the concept of "teacher as coach" advocated by both the Coalition of Essential Schools (Sizer, 1986) and Breaking Ranks (NASSP, 1996). • Teachers should strive to facilitate student learning, rather than always using the direct delivery method of instruction. Whenever possible, students should complete the activity. • Lessons should be active, with reduced emphasis on such passive activities as listening to lectures and completing worksheets. • Lessons should be planned in which students learn through discovery methods or teach important concepts to their classmates.
  11. 11. • Sample Learning Journals - http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childho • Reflective Learning Journal – Teacher Guide https://docs.google.com/a/ulsterboces.org/viewer?ur • Learning Journal Templates - http://www.communities.qld.gov.au/resources/childs
  12. 12. Questioning Techniques for Active Learning http://www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/ideas/iot2.htm 1. Ask Challenging Questions – Avoid phrasing questions that are closed, which require straightforward factual answers, unless you simply want to check retention. Ask probing and evaluative questions that call for higher cognitive thinking such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Challenge students to explore the evidence for their existing knowledge, apply their existing knowledge to other situations, bring them to the limits of their knowledge base. – Example of a straightforward question: What is the expression for kinetic energy? – Example of a more challenging question: Why is there a factor of ½ in the expression for kinetic energy? 2. Ask Well-Crafted, Open-Ended Questions – To start an active discussion, ask open-ended questions that encourage the exploration of various possibilities. However, the questions should not be too unstructured as this may lead to ambiguity, and time is lost defining the question rather than addressing the issue at hand. Questions can be crafted to bring out inductive and deductive reasoning skills. Encourage students to figure out answers rather than remember them. At times questions are designed to help students see things from a broader perspective, but this may necessitate other questions along the way to help the students narrow their focus before arriving at the answer. – Example of an open-ended and structured question: We have examined the aetiology of dental caries. What factors would increase a patient’s risk to caries? 3. Ask Uncluttered Questions – Avoid cluttered questions that involve many sub-questions or are interspersed with background information. This type of questions confuse the students because they are not clear what is being asked of them. – e.g. of a cluttered question: What are some of the reasons that Newton’s laws are flawed? I mean…what seems to be the main problem, according to Einstein? Can we then still use Newton’s laws? A few of you earlier said that you do not think Newton’s laws should be used for some situations. What are the problems there? Learn to Wait • You need to wait after asking a question before answering it yourself or going on to ask further questions or making further points. Good questions, especially profound ones, may necessitate lengthy wait times. Do not be afraid to wait. Waiting is a sign that you want thoughtful participation. 30 seconds may seem like an eternity, but the brain needs it to process. Presentation • Oral presentation can result in students not hearing or understanding a question. Thus long unproductive wait times are likely to follow. To ensure questions are clearly communicated to the students, write your questions on the overhead or on the whiteboard or hand them out in the written form. It is often useful to ask whether the questions are clear before launching into wait time. Further Reading Cooper, J.M., et al. (1977). Classroom Teaching Skills: A Handbook. Toronto: D.C. Heath. Kissock, C. & Lyortsuun, P.A. (1982). Guide to Questioning: Classroom Procedures for Teachers. London: MacMillan Press Ltd. Rasmussen, R.V. (1984). ‘Practical Discussion Techniques for Instructors’. AACE Journal. 12(2), 38–47. ‘Question Types’. (1998). Teaching at UNL. Teaching & Learning Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. http://www.unl.edu/teaching/teachquestions.html (Last accessed: 3 February 2000).
  13. 13. Think - Pair - Share http://tech205.weebly.co
  14. 14. Include group activities to encourage student participation • New concepts are more likely to be retained in long-term memory when the learner is permitted to state them orally or to physically engage in activities. Group activities can range from brief discussions with a partner to carefully crafted activities that may require the majority of the block. • Cooperative learning. A substantial body of research exists documenting the effectiveness of cooperative learning strategies (Johnson and Johnson, 1989; Slavin, 1990). Any faculty that is considering implementing block scheduling should seriously consider cooperative learning training for all teachers and make this instructional method the cornerstone of lesson planning. • Writing groups. Students can critique their fellow group members' writing for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and sentence structure. Oral and written feedback will help students improve their writing style as they learn to write for their peer audience. • Case studies, role playing, and simulations. Case studies allow students to view situations through the depersonalized actions of a story character ("I agree/disagree with what he/she did because..."), rather than risking peer disapproval for personal solutions. Class discussion, consequently, remains focused on finding appropriate solutions rather than confronting conflicting student values, beliefs, and feelings. Through role plays and simulations, students have an opportunity to employ their dramatic talents, in addition to experiencing how a person in that role may actually feel or react when confronted with the situation.
  15. 15. Use creative thinking activities http://www.craftonhills.edu/~/media/Files/SBCCD/CHC/Faculty%20and%20Staff/SLOs/Step %201/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20and%203%20Domains%20of%20Learning.ashx • Though teachers today are generally familiar with the taxonomy of educational objectives in the cognitive domain (Bloom et al., 1956), they are likely to be less aware of similar taxonomies in the affective and psychomotor domains (Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia, 1956; Harrow, 1969). These latter two domains include learning activities that challenge students to develop skills in such areas as organizing preferences and developing confidence. • Lessons that attend to the affective and psychomotor domains, in addition to the higher levels of the more traditional cognitive domain, provide opportunities to emphasize the more spontaneous and creative capabilities of students. Examples of classroom attention to creative aspects of learning include assignments to develop illustrations of solutions to current affairs problems in social studies, or to exchange and solve student- created problems in math. Having students describe how they arrived at answers to assignments that require higher order thinking is also of great value in encouraging nontraditional thinking.
  16. 16. Move outside the classroom. Case Studies - Case studies are tools for engaging students in research and reflective discussion. Higher order thinking is encouraged. Solutions to cases may be ambiguous and facilitate creative problem solving coupled with an application of previously acquired skills. They are effective devices for directing students to practically apply their skills and understandings Field Trips - A field trip is a structured activity that occurs outside the classroom. It can be a brief observational activity, a longer more sustained investigation or project, or a virtual tour using multi- media technology. Inquiry - Inquiry learning provides opportunities for students to experience and acquire processes through which they can gather information about the world. This requires a high level of interaction among the learner, the teacher, the area of study, available resources, and the learning environment. Students use both inductive and deductive reasoning processes. Research Projects – Action Research format - A research model provides students with a framework for organizing information about a topic. Research projects frequently include these four steps: determining the purpose and topic; gathering the information; organizing the information; and sharing knowledge. Peer Partner Learning -Peer partner learning is a collaborative experience in which students learn from and with each other for individual purposes. Students reflect upon previously taught material by helping peers to learn and, at the same time, develop and hone their social skills. Problem solving - There are major types of problem solving – reflective and creative. Regardless of the type of problem solving a class uses, problem solving focuses on knowing the issues, considering all possible factor and finding a solution. Because all ideas are accepted initially, problem solving allows for finding the best possible solution as opposed to the easiest solution or the first solution proposed. Approaching instructional time with a commitment to including "outside-the-classroom" resources and processes as much as possible helps teachers and students focus on the real-life applications of their classes. Using community resources within the classroom, such as guest speakers and community artifacts, effectively ties community and school together, while simultaneously building invaluable community support for the schools (Schmitt and Tracy, 1996). Similarly, the use of integrated field trips and assignments to gather information from the immediate community through "community scavenger hunts" helps to create relevance in the students' learning. Simulations - A simulation is a form of experiential learning. Simulations are instructional scenarios where the learner is placed in a "world" defined by the teacher. They represent a reality within which students interact. The teacher controls the parameters of this "world" and uses it to achieve the desired instructional results. Synectics - Synectic thinking is the process of discovering the links that unite seemingly disconnected elements. It is a way of mentally taking things apart and putting them together to furnish new insight for all types of problems. It is a creative problem solving technique which uses analogies. This technique has been developed by Gordon and Prince. Scavenger Hunt - http://www.dots-n-spots.com/?p=297
  17. 17. Employ authentic forms of assessment. • Traditional paper-and-pencil tests are limited in the types of learning activities for which these methods of assessment are valid. If emphasis in classroom strategies is placed on less traditional and more creative learning, less traditional and more creative forms of measuring the results are needed. • Demonstrations of a wide range of student behaviors, such as cooperative problem analysis and resolution with a classroom partner, or use of technology in accessing, manipulating, and presenting information are more characteristic of situations students will confront outside the classroom, and more telling of the level of integration in multi-domain learning. The use of others besides the classroom teacher to assist in evaluating student growth, based on clearly-defined objectives also helps to make assessment more authentic.
  18. 18. Integrate and reinforce basic skills throughout the curriculum. • Students can engage in the writing process in all classes; science and math concepts can readily be integrated; and history can be infused into foreign languages, art, and music. Students can make connections and transfer knowledge more readily across these artificial disciplinary boundaries. • A natural progression to this concept is the development of an interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum. Faculty members can begin this process by sharing curriculum content, agreeing upon times during the school calendar when major concepts could most appropriately be integrated, and identifying overarching themes and learning activities that would connect the various disciplines.
  19. 19. Incorporate technology. • Technology is an excellent learning tool when it is purposefully crafted to facilitate student understanding of concepts, and it can be used effectively for both whole-class instruction and individual drill-and-practice. • Try and stay away from lengthy videos. Keep them to 30 minutes or less. • On the other hand, countless teachers are discovering the power of teacher-developed multimedia presentations and the benefits of the Internet as a student research tool. Teachers should exercise caution when planning activities that incorporate student use of the Internet, however, since students can spend inordinate amounts of time "surfing" and exploring areas that have little or no educational value. Lessons using the Internet should direct students to appropriate sites for specific purposes so this technology is actually used as an educational tool. • Use web 2.0 tools for classroom projects
  20. 20. Web 2.0 • Vocaroo - http://vocaroo.com/ • Class Dojo - http://www.classdojo.c om/ • Curriculum 21 Clearinghouse - http://www.curriculum 21.com/clearinghouse/ • StoryTelling Tools - http://cogdogroo.wikis paces.com/StoryTools
  21. 21. Share resources and ideas with colleagues. • One of the major fears of making change lies in confronting the unknown. When teachers change their instructional patterns from the tried and-true methodology of the past to the uncharted waters of teaching in a block schedule, having the support of colleagues is invaluable. Patterns of "lone ranger" efforts to achieve should be replaced with active seeking and giving of both information and support in a collaborative forum that brings teachers together. Longer periods of time and more flexibility in the schedule allow teachers to plan and work together in ways not previously available. • Teachers can capitalize on this advantage by being open to sharing both successes and roadblocks that occurred in implementing new instructional strategies. Besides helping one's colleague think through the "whys" of the situations discussed, the process can be directly helpful to the other teacher. Often, what did not go so well for one teacher may be an excellent strategy for someone else in another setting. • Building administrators can support this process by encouraging teachers to take risks in the classroom without fear of reprisal. Time can be set aside in faculty meetings for teachers to share both successful and unsuccessful classroom experiences, so teachers can receive suggestions and feedback from their peers. In this way, teachers begin to develop a learning community while modeling the practice of continuous learning for their students.
  22. 22. Plan ahead for support activities. • Longer periods of teaching time require longer-range thinking and planning. • Informal learning activities that enrich and supplement the formal instructional objectives of the class should be readily available and carefully planned, especially for classes that include more complex learning and/or diverse student populations, or for those times when students are just not ready to engage in additional formal learning activities. • Educational games of various kinds, whether commercially prepared or student created, relieve the stress of long periods of intense instruction while also supporting the learning goals of the class. • "Brain-teasers" that capture the content of the class in new and unusual patterns, such as visual presentations of ideas or cross-disciplinary applications of the day's lesson, provide opportunities for students in pairs or teams to review curricular content and to develop cooperative learning skills.
  23. 23. Block Scheduling – Good, Bad Reality http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php? video_id=139362&title=Block_Scheduling_Good__Bad__Reality&ref=Alw004
  24. 24. Conclusion
  25. 25. • Block scheduling is a needs-driven, research-based approach to the problem of restructuring the time element in the secondary school paradigm. It is a restructuring that has been successfully implemented in many locations across the country, and indeed, internationally (Furman and McKenna, 1995; Hackmann, 1995; Schoenstein, 1995; Wilson, 1995; Fritz, 1996; Reid, 1996; Wyatt, 1996). This change in the time structure of the secondary school has become the springboard for both organizational growth and reexamination of instructional goals. New paradigms in one area of the educational arena call for new paradigms in other areas. • Much of the success that has accompanied the move to block scheduling is due in a direct way to the willingness of teachers to make changes in their instructional methods and in the willingness of their principals to support teachers in their efforts. Such a move calls for openness to the change process on the part of all concerned, a structure for honest and open dialogue preceding implementation about the pros and cons of the change, and forward-thinking leadership with accompanying organizational support throughout the process. With this type of planning and sustenance, both material and moral, the likelihood that block scheduling will make a difference in student outcomes, and result in professional and organizational growth, is indeed great and more than worth the effort.
  26. 26. Glossary for Block Scheduling Block scheduling • 4 x 4 Block Schedule: Four classes, approximately ninety minutes in length, every day for the first semester. Four completely different classes, again ninety minutes in length, every day for the second semester. Each class equals one credit. • A/B Block Schedule: (also known as the alternate plan) Four classes, approximately ninety minutes in length, meeting every other day (“A” days) for an entire school year. Four completely different classes, again ninety minutes in length, meeting on alternate days (“B” days) for an entire year. Each class equals one credit. • Combination Block Schedule: A combination of 4 x 4 and A/B block schedules. • Flexible Schedule: A combination of 4 x 4 and A/B block schedules, but class length varies from day to day. One example: On three out of every five days throughout the school year, each class could be 90 minutes in length. On the other two days, designated as Advisement/Resource Days, each class is 75 minutes in length. An Advisement/Resource Hour is 60 minutes in length. • All of the above from: The Change Process and Alternative Scheduling, accessed 6/4/06 • Intensive Block: In this format, students attend two core classes at a time. These core classes can be coupled with up to three other year-long elective classes. Students complete the core classes in 60 days and then move on to another two. School years are organized into trimesters (Jones, 1995; Canady & Rettig, 1995). Read more atwww.nwrel.org • Modular: the modular schedule system is similar to the traditional block schedule, but differs in that it allows for each day of the week to have classes (sometimes referred to as “mods”) scheduled in a different order. • Modified block: “build your own” block schedule; e.g. schools may have students attend school based on a 4 x 4 block on Monday through Thursday, and a regular 8 period schedule on Friday. Or, they may have two blocked classes in a day, combined with three regular periods (Rettig and Canady, 1996). Read more at www.nwrel.org • Parallel block: The parallel block is used primarily in elementary schools, whereas the modified block, alternating A/B, the 4 x 4 block, and the intensive block are used primarily in secondary schools. Parallel block takes a class of students and divides them into two groups. One group of children stay with their classroom teachers for instruction in a subject such as math or language arts, while the other group attends physical education or music, or visits the computer lab; after a prescribed length of time the two groups swap. This schedule provides all students with a more individual learning experience (Canady, 1990). Read more at www.nwrel.org • Pullout: elective classes that take some students, but not all students, out of the regular classroom to participate in group practices or individual lessons. NAfME’s Position Statement • Trimester: The instructional year is divided into three cycles. • Year-round: Schools that follow a year-around schedule do not literally meet for the entire year. The instructional year is divided into four cycles, which generally run from late July-September, October-December, January-March, and April-early June. Each nine-week instructional cycle is followed by an approximate two-week break, and other seasonal breaks (i.e., Winter, Spring) are included.
  27. 27. Benefits • More Time to Learn • More In-Depth Learning • Higher Morale and Better Grades • Opportunities to complete different types of assignments • Allows for more variety in the classroom • More in-depth lessons can lead to greater student success