Sunday, August 27, 2006

Block Scheduling

I'm finding that the only thing I don't have a handle on is keeping the attention of 26 ninth graders for an hour and a half. The one thing I had going for me last year was classroom control (well, even if I didn't have it, I thought I did, and sometimes that’s what counts). I could be interesting and fun for 50 minutes, but not for 90 minutes (or when the bell schedule is off, even more). As I understand it, block scheduling was created to provide time for more activities in the class. It's hard because there is so much material to cover in Algebra, that I feel like I'm just instructing for the entire time. On one day I had to cover 13 properties of real numbers (commutative, associative ...). How boring.

Schedules are still changing, which is a struggle. We have to test these kids that we only just got in our classrooms.

Some students have a bad attitude about being in a Transitions to Algebra class. They aren't getting a Carnegie unit for one, so they argue that there isn't a point to taking the class. Some of them also have the "This is so easy" attitude, but every time I ask them a question they get it wrong.

Some things I do have a handle on: I'm spending a lot less time on school (yea). I don't feel the need to plan out every moment of every day. If I know what I need to cover, I trust that I will cover it during the class and make it work.

Also, I am now awesome at parent contact. I've made about 100 calls so far (I certainly haven't talked to all of them but I try). The parents have been almost completely supportive of me, and very appreciative.


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