Monday, June 27, 2011

Making the Most of Extended Class Time (BLOCK)

Time is what we want most, but... what we use worst. 
                                                                         ~Willaim Penn

Break It Up

Most people learn best in incremantal progression. Divide the block into a series of short intense and chllenging activities.  Surround and separate, two 20 to 30 minute presentations with three or four 5 to 10  minute, active, hands on, and collaborative activities.  Extend projects over several days, utilizing a segment of time each day.

Utilize Multiple Instructional Strategies

Use at least three different types of activities each class period. Alternate between teacher centered and student centered.  Teacher centered activities could include lecture, Q&A or demonstration.  Student centered activities could include peer-teaching, cooperative learning, games, role-play, presentations, research, online simulations or project building.  Reach out to students to maximize the various learning styles to provide opportunities for each student to find a comfort zone in your classroom.

Create Possibilities for Movement

Develop methods in your classroom to allow students to change position of their own body but also in the classroom.  Provide stretch breaks, rearrange groups between activities, collect, gather, distribute materials, role-play are all means to get students active in the classroom.

Incorporate Multiple Media

Provide opportunities for students to listen to music, lectures, speeches, interviews, audio books, poetry or plays.  Use movies, video, pictures, You Tube, TED Talks, to bring the world into your classroom.  Allow students to create posters, models and simulations.  Store in your classroom, magazines, fabrics, various types of paper, paint, glue, markers, crayons, scissors, and colored pencils.

Use Passive Learning Opportunities

Provide passive learning opportunties as students are entering and exiting your classroom or when they are moving between activities in class.  Run PowerPoints of images, cartoons, quotes and ideas.  Provide a thought question on the board.  Create flash cards to display on a, PowerPoint, SMART Board or computer screen.

Make Use of School and Community Resources

Block schedules allow for excellent opportunities for class excursions both on campus and off.  Create interdisciplinary projects, integrate more technology and visit the library.  Bring in guest speakers, alumni to bring relevant content from the outside world into your classroom.

Allow Time for Students to Reflect

Provide time for students to reflect through a journal, thought question, quick checks to monitor their own progress, expectations and needs.  Encourage the students to take more responsibility for their own learning. These types of activities provide the internal reflection that overcomes,
"What did you do in school today?" 

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