Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Teach 180: Teaching in Longer Class Periods (Day 6)

We have moved to a dramatically different bell schedule this year.  Last year classes met for 40 minutes 4 days a week and 70 minutes one day a week.  Sounds pretty simple.

Now classes meet for 60 minutes 4 out of an 8 day rotation, 70 minutes one day out of an 8 day rotation and 50 minutes one day out of an 8 day rotation.  That means in an 8 day cycle a particular class that used to meet on a daily basis won't meet twice in the rotation.  Plus the periods rotate throughout the day.  So, sometimes I see students at 8 AM and sometimes I see those same students at 2:15 PM.  School started 6 days ago and at this point I think I have seen all my students 4 times in total.

Here is a graphic that may help you to understand the particulars of my teaching schedule.  You may want to click on it to enlarge it to see the details.

One of the adjustments I have had to make is knowing what can be reasonably accomplished in 60 minutes.  Reviewing a previous lesson, teaching a new lesson and having time for students to work on problems is not enough variety in 60 or 70 minutes.  Now instead of 2 or 3 changes in activities, there needs to be 3 or 4 changes in activities to keep students engaged for a longer period of time.  So, what do we do?

Here is what we did today in Probability and Statistics today:
1) Finish notes from a prior class - discussing sampling methods and problems that can happen with surveys.
2) Discuss all the homework problems.
3) Do a Plicker review activity to prepare for a quiz.
4) Video on Designing Experiments from Against All Odds Inside Statistics.

There was plenty of variety, classroom discourse and opportunities for participation to keep even the most attention-challenged students from zoning out.  But was it too much???  My one concern is that there may have been too much content for a one hour class.  Reviewing about a dozen ideas from previous lessons and introducing about five new ideas may not be optimal.  However, this course covers material that is on the AP Statistics exam.  In years past, I had just enough time to review (7 - 10 days of class time) prior to the AP exam.  With the new schedule, I am already concerned that I will be teaching new content up to the day of the exam.  By teaching old concepts and new concepts during the same class period, I hope I can at least salvage 4 days of review with my students in May.  Time will tell.

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