Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thinking Blocks

I’m a believer that the school day’s clock schedule is not an issue. Restructuring of the school year to 180 days divided into evenly distributed blocks (multiple breaks of a few weeks rather than a three month summer) has benefits. 

However, my focus is on the use of time within the current school day. I think it accurately mimics the workplace atmosphere regarding 9-5 jobs. That should remain. The comparison breaks down when we consider the work load and awkward divisions of time within those hours. No 9-5 employee is asked to segment their day into 8 pieces with very different tasks to be completed in each. 

To “go beyond the bell and get off the escalator,” block scheduling is an excellent remedy. Allowing for extended periods on a single task allows students to make those extra cognitive steps that a 50 minute period cuts short. Project Based Learning is afforded substantial opportunity to flourish with extended workshop periods. Students have fewer mental transitions in their brain per day, allowing longer strands of focus. 

Rather than a block schedule of meeting every other day for a 90 minute period, I prefer a school structure with increased interdisciplinary courses. For example, a social students/language arts class could meet as a block every day. Again, this gives students access to longer periods of thinking time to grow in a single area. 

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