Monday, March 12, 2018

Times literally changin' - 3.12 #sol18 Story Challenge

Last week, after months of dialogue, school leaders where I teach officially announced we will be changing our schedule. We will operate with eight periods, rather than seven, and more block periods will be another notable feature. Based on what's known so far, here's a quick vision of now versus later (numbers inside boxes represent minutes):
My feelings are mixed, though more positive than negative. The opportunity to rethink learning with students -- including the many variables of curricula, classwork, homework, assessments, and related pedagogies -- feels full of possibilities. That thrill is matched, for me, by trepidation about making workable changes ready to roll out in August. Questions are far outstripping answers at this point, and I'm skeptical that enough resources (including time) will be formally allotted to sift the former in search of the latter.

So, here are two actions steps I'm taking...

  • Responding to an expedited call for elective proposals by guiding students to create and evaluate their own in our English classes leading up to Spring Break
  • Asking this big virtual room of experts about your experiences that might prove instructive: What winning electives do your schools offer? What are some ways you and your students get the most from block schedules/periods?
Thanks for contributing slices of your expertise as you're able!

3 comments:

  1. I experienced a similar change when I was the high school counselor. I am a person who thrives on change, so I could see all the positives: more options for all students, less class boredom, teachers had the opportunity to create a dream class, and so on. The reality was that not all people thrive on change, many are going to be dragging their feet, resistant to the change. It was a challenge to keep up if it was an A day or B day. In the end we had new admin and it was decided to return to the norm. I really think we did not give it a fair chance for us to succeed.

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    1. Thanks for your insight, Pat. I see some of the dynamics you describe already. I remain hopeful we can find our way to a productive other side. As it stands now, we'll at least avoid potential A day/B day confusion.

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  2. We offered a couple of exploratory language classes. I taught "Exploring French" for years. I had to make up my own curriculum but I had started life as a French teacher so it was pretty easy.

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