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Lesson Plans

Re: Block scheduling

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Sue Palfrey (stp7msb)
Mon, 17 Mar 1997 16:22:24 -0500

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Amy asks some excellent questions about block scheduling. I currently
teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. We see each grade level for 75
minutes per day. I have six classes per trimester (2 at each grade level)
which meet every other day for the 75 minutes. I really like this
schedule, and feel that the students actually learn and retain more by
having the continuity during the trimester that they have art (as opposed
to shorter blocks every 3 to 6 days). Students are able to emerse
themselves in lesson much more easily. I do not have to spend near as much
time reviewing. In addition, I have a lot fewer classes at one time, so I
really am able to keep track of what my students are doing. We also have
time to do more involved projects, and don't end up spending weeks on them.
I cover the same amount of material I did when I had shorter classes
spread out over the year. Finally, I have more room in the art room for
larger projects, having fewer students at once.

My own feeling is that when the quality of the experience is better,
students will take away more. In either case, I think there are many
students that may not remember a specific concept, but they learn the
skills of problem solving, creative thinking, and awareness of what the art
experience is (I'm sure more than that - but you get the gist).

Interdisciplinary projects require some flexibility in expectations. I do
some projects in conjunction with other disciplines. The art project
should always be able to stand on its own anyway. The students who study
the material concurrently (1/3 of my students) will have all the richer
experience. However, students who have covered the material earlier or
will later study the material will still benefit from the experience.

Right now, I'm on a unified arts team. It does not effect what I teach as
far as curriculum whatsoever. I would prefer to be on a mixed team
(ideally across subjects and grade level) which I feel would enhance
communication throughout the school, but my guess is that isn't going to
happen any time soon.

Contact me if you want more info. I'm posting this to the group, because
I'd be interested in other's experiences.

> From: ARopple
> To: artsednet
> Subject: Block scheduling
> Date: Monday, March 17, 1997 6:43 AM
> I am interested in anyone who can share information about the effects of
> block scheduling on their schools art program. My school is in
> now. Currently kids get art class throughout the year in Gr. 6 & 7, and
> choose it as a half-year elective for Gr. 8. Thoughts are at the school
> changing the program so that kids meet for only part of a year (for more
> -- hopefully) would be a good possibility, to allow for interdisc
> However, meeting & planning with other teachers is essential to such
> projects, and usually teachers meet when the kids are in art -- the
> catch 22. My basic questions:
> 1) I notice such a dramatic change in student development throughout the
> that I would hate to have a student miss out on the art experience during
> such change -- losing connection to art as a method of expression &
> possibility. It takes some kids longer than six to eight weeks to
> themselves on a high level.
> 2) How can concepts be reinforced when the kids are not in class ? Art
> its own curricular content that could easily fill up an class that meets
> everyday -- to teach a group on a short term basis would not allow for
> reinforcement.
> 3) While I like interdisc projects & have done several within my school,
> does being tied in with teams effect the general curriculum ? Does
> have experience with art getting marginalized as the "poster maker" or
> support entity for major subject content (product over process, etc.) ?
> Thanks to anyone who can offer info !!
> Amy ROpple
> ARopple

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