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Re: The 4-block schedule


Date: Sun Oct 15 2000 - 15:07:29 PDT

Our school has been using the 4 block schedule for 3 years now. In Art, the
benefit is obvious- the needed studio time is wonderful. Students tend to
get into their projects and stay there for a longer period of time. -that is
depending on the project. I have students working on "pointillism" projects
that after 30 min of staring at "dots" their eyes go nuts and they need to
spend the rest of the period "visiting" other classmates (re-vamping that
project). There is also a problem with students who miss class, -they end
up missing a LOT! It is much harder to make up 1 -80 min period then 1 -50
min period. I still have not found the time to re-explain in detail all
lectures and directions they have missed. They end up suffering the
consequences of having less than satisfactory work unless they work after
school with me and at home making up the time. As far as other classes
go--- It's positive in the fact that the teacher can "divide the time into
"warm-up" activities, lecture/discussion, and homework/study time. This is
meant to give a variety of learning experiences to the student enabling he or
she to be more focused, understand cross references to other core areas and
gives the student an opportunity to get feedback on homework assignments and
obtain help on concepts not yet mastered. For many people this is wonderful-
but there are those who struggle with attention spans -even for 20 minutes.
When the block is broken up into 20-30 min segments, it becomes real hard for
them to focus in any capacity. Those students are often there making block
scheduling look less effective. We (society) have created this situation by
allowing those children to use various ackronyms as an excuse for their
inability to learn or poor classroom behavior.
If your asking my opinion -I love it as a High School art teacher. Naturally
there are those who do not function well in an 80 min. studio but I also
believe they wouldn't function well in a 40 min one either. Having only 4
blocks requires that I have multi-level classrooms such as ART 2, 3, 4, 5 and
6 in one class (I'm the only art teacher) and that is pretty tough on me. I
haven't exactly gotten the "classroom and project management" down yet but
I'm working on it. I do believe it to be a better learning environment for
the students.
Kathy in Kalamazoo