Category Archives: block schedule

Schedule for 2010-2011

So…my tentative schedule for next year is this:

Semester One
1st: Junior English (1st floor)
2nd: Homeroom (2nd floor)
3rd: Senior English (2nd floor)
4th: Credit Recovery (1st floor)
5th: Plan

Semester Two
1st: Junior English (1st floor)
2nd: Homeroom (2nd floor)
3rd: Credit Recovery (1st floor)
4th: Plan
5th: Junior English (2nd floor)

Credit Recovery for 1st and 3rd quarters will be makeup for Freshmen or Sophomore English. Credit Recovery for 2nd & 4th Quarters is makeup for Junior or Senior English. The junior/senior class is geared more towards writing, so I’m going to tweak it to make it more writing intense. It was last year, but…it wasn’t exactly what I like.

Currently, I’m in 3 rooms throughout the year, not counting homeroom. However, that’s why I put the 1st & 2nd floor stuff. I’m in a different room for each block. Plan period will be in our English office area. If they ever take our office area away (b/c we don’t have room) I will be supremely pissed and will DEFINITELY look for a job at a new school.

We have a new principal this year…I’m nervous. It’s like being at a new job all over again. Change (that I didn’t initiate) gives me such anxiety. Bleagh…

I hope that my curriculum person works things out so that I’m not traveling all the live-long day. I might just buy myself some KEENS and wear them and say they’re dress shoes. Shit.

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Filed under beginnings, block schedule, credit recovery, preparation

Next Year

Well, right now, I’m sitting in my living room listening to the wind blow, the rain roar, the hail fall, and the thunder rumble. My part of my state is experiencing a huge late-day storm (we usually get them at night, as far as I can remember) — my parent’s house (they live north of me) has no power. Thankfully, my parents have a non-cordless land line phone.

We had our “plan time” for summer school today — as far as teaching goes, this will be a cake-walk. On one hand, this is not a program that is what you’d want to see happen in a classroom during the school year. However, this is credit recovery. These kids are here to earn their credit — they need buckle down, do the work, and as Larry the Cable Guy says “git er done!” So, this plan to have them work independently (as much as they’re able) and to essentially prove they can demonstrate their mastery of standards via this work — I’m okay with it. Also, the lack of planning that is necessary on my part is fantastic.

Anyway…

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Next year, this is what I’d like to accomplish in my junior English class. Let me know if you think it’s do-able.

September/January: 1 essay, 1 speech (memorized poem recitation)
October/February: 1 essay, 1 group presentation (4 to 5 minutes & 4 to 5 people) **Feb = state writing test
Read 1 major work by this time
November/March: 1 essay, 1 partner presentation (4 to 5 minutes)
December/April: 1 essay, 1 speech (solo! — 4 to 5 minutes) ** Apr = state reading test
Read 1 major work by this time
August — winding up stuff (short works, etc)
May — winding down stuff
So…2 major works for each semester, which will be supplemented by various other texts: speeches, essays, short stories, poems, etc.

Remember, I’m on the 4×4 block, at least for one more year — rumor has it that our new principal would like to change our schedule to A/B Block. M&W=A, T&Th=B, Friday = all (meaning each class would meet for about 45 minutes). We couldn’t change it till the 2011-2012 school year. I personally LOVE the idea of an ABAB/All schedule.

Side note: don’t get me wrong, I LOVE teaching juniors. I love that age group (even when I don’t). But I HATE that the feds have decided (or our state has decided?) that this is the age-group that needs to prove they know what they know. They are tested up the whazzoo. It’s ridiculous.

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Filed under block schedule, credit recovery, juniors, lesson planning, planning, preparation, quarter schedule, reading, state writing, summer school, testing, work, writing

Grading..and related musings…on a Saturday night

So, it’s Saturday, after 10 p.m. I’m sure there are people out there who are doing much more exciting, typical Saturday night things — drinking, singing karaoking, bowling, playing board games w/ friends, uh…yeah. I’m kind of a nerd and sometimes don’t have much of a social life. I’m not sure what normal people do on a Saturday night. Anyway…

So, I’m grading. I had to bring the laptop from school home, reset my home modem, but finally VOILA! I can put grades into our new online gradebook program w/o glitches. That is so reassuring and only a small hassle. Before, on my personal lappy, I’d get kicked out of the grade program & wouldn’t be able to do anything. So, this weekend, I brought the laptop home.

We have grades due Monday a.m. We have grades due then because we have Parent-Teacher Conferences on Tuesday. This is conference evening number 3 of 4. We have four nights of conferences a year because we’re on the 4×4 block schedule.

Have I mentioned lately that I LOATHE the 4×4 block schedule? I think it is entirely overrated and does NOT help our students. When you have students who are unmotivated, have learning issues (both that relate to their level of intelligence and their level of work ethic, etc), and attendance issues, then having a semester’s worth of material crammed into a quarter is NOT effective. It also sucks because students only get half a year of English (and math, and science, social studies, etc) each school year. The level of retention from one year to the next of basic skills in core classes is almost nil. (Or, at least it seems like it). Not to mention that if a student has English first semester, freshmen year (for example) they may not have it again until second semester, sophomore year.

Block schedule, the 4×4, is designed for motivated students who are ready to do the work. That is NOT the type of students that are the majority at my school.

Anyway…7 out of 20 passing in 1st block; 14 out of 23 passing in 3rd block; 10 out of 19 passing in 4th block. That’s not very promising, especially my first block. However, 7 of those failures are within the passing mark. They’re not far off from passing — so they have a shot of bring up their grades to passing.

The other thing that kills me about students some times (in general) is their attendance. I have 2 students in first block that NEVER show. Several of my first block kids are chronically tardy. I HATE assigning detentions for tardies, b/c a) I hate keep track of the paperwork b) I hate having to call home about that and c) I don’t think they’re effective. Dear readers: how do you deal with tardies/detentions, etc? Anyway, I have a handful of kids who miss my 3rd block often as well. AND, I have one kid who is hardly ever shows up for my 4th block. My 4th block class is probably my WORST class of offenders related to tardies. I have one kid who is late to class and also late back from lunch — EVERY DAY!

Anyway…I should get back to the wretched grading thing, I suppose. Bleagh. I hope my grades get better, the more things I add.

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Filed under attendance, block schedule, conferences, grading, tardies