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Friday, March 01st, 2013 | Author:

http://linoit.com/users/jdosch/canvases/inbox

I’m not sold on this shared sticky note idea.  I don’t like that sticky notes can become hidden behind other sticky notes when there are multiple post-its on the wall.  I had no trouble moving around post-its on my own wall but when I was on other walls I did not have the ability to move around post-its that were not my own.  This was frustrating because I could see that some were hidden but I could not access them.  If I was using this with a class would I then have to contact the students who’s post-its were “in the way” and have them move them?  This seems like a whole lot of extra work that could be avoided by starting a discussion board through a class website or even a class facebook page.  It just seems as though it would be easy to miss information that is posted on a wall because there is no organization.  This may just be a flaw of my own because I am somewhat obsessive about having everything organized and being visually pleasing.  As a teacher I feel I would constantly be updating and arranging the wall, so something that should have been a “fun” activity would end up consuming a large amount of my time.  This is why I feel this is not something for me, but I would encourage my students to try it out for themselves, because obviously there will be students who will enjoy this format of expression and collaboration.

As for use in the classroom, it may be fun to use this to create a wall of posts for pieces of literature that have been read in class.  The teacher could take the first 10-15 minutes of class-time to lead a class discussion about the previous nights reading assignment.  The teacher or student volunteers can then record the class discussion on the post-it wall.  Post-its can be broken down by main ideas, the message the author is sending, students favorite moments in the story, possible essay topics students would like to explore, etc.  A link can then be placed on the class website so students can reference the wall from home, the library, their phones, etc, when it comes time to review for a test, write an essay, or complete a project.  I believe that all students could benefit from this but it will really help out the students who don’t take great notes or don’t take any notes at all.  The class discussions will also allow students to build or improve their literacy skills by teaching them what to look for and think about when reading.

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 | Author:

Blog  2 – Block Scheduling

Jeanette Dosch (Pledge)

 

Adjusting to high school is a major milestone in every student’s educational experience.  More times than not it involves moving to a larger school with more students, brand new teachers, more advanced subjects, and a course schedule that can take you from one end of the school to the other in a matter of minutes.  As if all this was not hard enough when I went to high school, the rules changed the beginning of my junior year.  My schedule went from standard 8 period days, which stayed the same the entire year, to something called rotating block scheduling.  Rotating block scheduling looks something like this:

 

Standard Bell Schedule

Time

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

 7:35 AM

Warning Bell

7:40 – 8:38 AM

Period 4

Period 3

Period 2

Period 1

 8:45 – 9:43 AM

Period 1

Period 4

Period 3

Period 2

 9:47 – 10:45 AM

Period 2

Period 1

Period 4

Period 3

10:45 – 11:29 AM

Lunch

 11:33 – 12:31 PM

Period 8

Period 7

 Period 6

 Period 5

 12:35 – 1:33 PM

 Period 5

 Period 8

 Period 7

 Period 6

 1:37 – 2:35 PM

 Period 6

 Period 5

 Period 8

 Period 7

(© West Morris Central High School (WMC) Website)

In short the rotating block scheduling at my old high school was based on a four-day sequence, beginning with Day 4 and working backwards to Day 1, as seen above (WMC Website).  Classes 1-4 took place before lunch and always rotated in the morning, while classes 5-8 took place after lunch and always rotated in the afternoon.  Classes that included a lab were a bit more complicated, but honestly I cannot remember how that worked, nor can I find further information on the school’s website.

At first this change was quite challenging, not only because change is usually met with resistance, but also because of the mass confusion the new schedule caused.  The schedule was new for teachers, administrators, and students alike, so we all learned it together, or rather fumbled through it together.  The most common questions in the hallways were, “What number day is it?”, “What period starts today?” or “What period is next?”.  I found this to be interesting because the number one question in the hallways was no longer “Where is classroom number such and such?”.  It was also interesting to watch the relationship of the students and teachers change during the first couple of weeks because they also had the slightest clue as to what was going on with the schedule.

Eventually everyone settled in and made heads or tails of the new system.  After that there seemed to be a positive buzz regarding the new structure of the schedule, the longer class times, the entire school “community” lunch, and the movement of the various classes throughout each day.  Teachers and students loved the rotation because they were able to see each other at different times each day.  Giving students and teachers new perspectives of one another regarding the level of “alertness” in the classroom.  The longer class times allowed for class discussions to become more lengthy and more in depth.  Group projects were also given more time in the classrooms due to the longer class time.

The all school lunch was a huge “hit” for staff and students.  It allowed clubs to start meeting during lunch hour and not restricting clubs to only after school hours.  It also allowed for teachers to establish days for extra help during lunch, instead of always having to stay after school.  Students were also able to roam outside the cafeteria, into the hallways or outdoors to eat.  The possibilities were endless and the faculty encouraged students to make their own choices during this time (Westside High School).  It was anything from a social hour with friends to a study hall for an upcoming test.

Being lucky enough to experience a traditional high school schedule and also a block schedule format, I have to say I am in favor of block scheduling.  It allows so much flexibility for teachers and students as far as offering clubs and activities during school hours.  It puts less pressure on the students and teachers by allowing them to concentrate their attention on fewer classes per day.  The constant flux in the schedule keeps everyone fresh and focused.  Granted it can get a bit confusing here and there, but the beauty of the block schedule is that no body is truly comfortable and complacent in the events taking place that day.  The format keeps everyone on “their toes” because each day starts and ends differently from the previous day and the following day.

 

Resources:

West Morris Central High School (n.d.). Bell schedules. Retrieved

from http://central.wmrhsd.org/default.asp.

 

Westside High School. (n.d.). Modular scheduling. Retrieved from

http://westsidecs.whs.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=81729&sessionid=853e6df65abd9dca02ed41&sessionid=853e6df65abd9dca02ed41.

 

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Saturday, June 02nd, 2012 | Author:

While I believe online courses can be beneficial, the amount of information a student will get out of it depends on his level of effort.  Working online gives the student no real accountability.  Google and other search engines are a “click away” to write a short answer, long answer or essay to almost any question posed by a teacher.

I find it humorous that schools are bold enough to say the implementation of these online courses is to prepare the students for the work force.  Really?  What specifically are they being prepared for via online learning?  I have been out there in the work force and have always been trained by another employee, a human.  If I had any questions that related directly to the job I would consult one of my co-workers, not the computer.  There are some computer based training programs out there, but they mostly deal with ethics and morals in the workplace, not job specific training.  A computer is not going to teach a waitress how to wait tables, a truck driver how to drive a truck, or a person working a desk job the intricate details and “ins and outs” that relate to that specific job.

For the work force it is important to learn how to type and navigate the different features a computer offers such as the Microsoft Office Suite, but to teach students at the K-12 level general education courses online is not acceptable.  In this day and age children are “plugged in” enough already.  Why would schools want to perpetuate this behavior?   I feel that if the online course movement claims to prepare students for the work force, then the courses offered must be of real value and add a skill set to the students resume.

In this day and age children learn very quickly how to navigate the Internet and different features of a computer.  In fact, it seems as though they have a better understanding of it than most people currently in the work force.  Today’s children are growing up with this technology and incorporating it into their lives from the beginning.  So, if the courses offered online are mostly general education, brick-and-mortar schools will need to re-evaluate their reason as to why online courses are being required.   Some schools may have to admit it is a cost savings or student retention based plan, and not preparation for the work force as they previously claimed.

 

Resources:

Brown, Emma (2012, April 06). Virginia’s new high school graduation requirement:

One online course. Retrieved from

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-schools-insider/post/virginias-new-high-school-graduation-requirement-one-online-course/2012/04/06/gIQAaz7E0S_blog.html

Gabriel, Trip  (2011, April 05). More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate

on Quality.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/education/06online.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

 

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