Determining Timing for Teaching

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Click above to listen to this podcast episode. Below is the transcript for Student-Centered World Podcast Episode 24: “Determining Timing in Teaching

Hey friends, hope you are doing well. Welcome to another week of the Student-Centered World podcast. Hope you had a great week and have some fun things planned coming up. Today might actually help you with those plans when it comes to school. So, in today’s podcast, I’m going to talk all about scheduling for the crazy, if you will. So, typically, we kind of have an idea of how we want our lessons to play out, how we want to schedule them, whether you believe in backward design, or you go day by day, or you just plan out your lessons by week.

Everybody sort of has a system on how that works. But lately, when you’re adding in the digital elements or the online elements or half the kids are on Zoom, and the other half is in the classroom or whatever scenario you have before you, it gets a little bit tricky to figure out the best way to schedule that is benefiting all of your students. So, when all of this first started happening, and obviously what our school year was going to look like changed. Every teacher that I know was trying to figure out some sort of a system that was going to work for them. But one of the things that got a little bit lost in translation was how to make it not only work for you but your students as well.

Now, there are so many people out there, and I’m not even going to get into this because it frustrates me that says that we’re doing our kids such a disservice right now, and they’re falling so far behind. Honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re the ones that set the benchmarks, we’re the ones that decide what is appropriate or not and if the systems are in place in the classroom, especially kind of with what I’m going to talk about today, nobody should be falling behind. If you are focusing on the student-centered element of all of this, you’re picking up on any students that might be faltering a little bit, and can come up with plans for those particular students.

Now I know there are all kinds of elements that are in the mix right now, if you’re a virtual and you have students not logging in, so on and so forth. But that’s something that I’m going to be talking about another day. Right now, I want you to wipe all of that off and just think about is the best way to be scheduling out what you need to teach your students given all of the hoopla, the potential change in the hoopla, and what that could look like to again, make your life easier, and make your students’ lives more beneficial.

Welcome to the Student-Centered World podcast where we talk about all things hands-on teaching and keeping your energy and sanity in the classroom. This teacher turned consultant is making it her mission to help as many teachers as possible become the best version of themselves and keep their passion for teaching on fire. It’s her hope that we never forget why we desire to have a passion for educational progress. This is Student-Centered World, and this is Jenn Breisacher.

So, there are a lot of different scheduling options out there and the potential for them to change is almost inevitable. When you’re looking at altered scheduling, like a lot of schools are doing. In our particular county, the younger grades are doing two days in class and then three days digital, and then our high school is doing one week in and then two weeks digital and the kids are split into different cohorts. So, the numbers are down to at least 50% capacity, if not a little bit less than that. So, I know there are a lot of different, some schools are doing half days, where they’re in class in the morning, and they are digital in the afternoon. Some are doing four days in one day out. There are just a lot of different models out there. Some schools are still trying to figure it out and again, it doesn’t matter what the plan is. There’s a really good opportunity and the option that it’s going to change no matter what it is just based on how things are going.

So, it’s good to have something they can switch into a backup plan pretty easy. But when you’re trying to figure out this scheduling we didn’t know a lot of those scheduling options. So, I kind of was throwing out there. When I did blended learning, I did it in a regular classroom. So, for me, it was just the timing of how the curriculum went, just the same way you would plan out how you time your lessons. But when you’re doing a model like this, where it has to be in class a certain amount, it has to be out of class a certain amount. When you normally think how long will it take me to teach this content? You’re going to have to switch it and say how can I teach this content in X amount of time? So, the way I would suggest planning this out and it might not always work out this way. You might need to add an extra bit to it, and you’ll see what I mean in a second. But if you’re doing a schedule that, for instance, like my kids are doing, where it’s two days in class, and then three days digital. I would try to plan the entire concept of your content by week.

So, you have two days of in-class instruction and three days of digital instruction to be able to go over one concept or one unit, or one factor however that is. If you are doing the one week in two weeks out, try to make it where you now have a three-week window to piece all that together. So, instead of saying normally, okay, when I teach this I need this many days. Say all right, let’s switch it up a little bit. If we’re going to have a five-day window, what can I do with them in class for two days? What can I do with them out of class for three days? Obviously trying to make it so the out-of-class activities are done before the in-class activities which go along with the whole flipped concept that we have been talking about. But you can add in the weekends there if you want to add more time for them to be working on things. Like I’ve been saying all along, it’s a mindset shift.

So, instead of how long is it going to take me? How long can it take, So, figure out what your best window is for concepts because it’s the same thing that we talked about before? If you have a break coming up, you want to try to get all of the information in before the break because if you have a week or two weeks, or whatever it is off, when you come back to try to continue on you’re going to have to do a little bit of refreshing and it’s just easier when you have that window, and it gets into being more of a routine. The kids know, when we start going back home for the next however long it is we know we’re starting something new, or when we come in we’re going to be finishing what we started before. It creates an element of routine which is one of the main things that we have to be doing right now because it does seem like it’s all over the place and we know that, and it can change. If you’re doing it where you’re in class and out of class and you shut down and you go all-digital, it’s still not a big deal because you just keep going with what you’re doing but you’re in class stuff, like we talked about the other day, just changes.

Then when you go back into the classroom the whole time, you can still keep doing this. Your elements at home, you come back into class. The way I did it, I had mentioned before I taught high school history. I would have it so they would have an ED puzzle that would encompass pretty much an entire unit. So, that’s their background information that they would have to complete, and they would normally have a week, a week, and a half. I would give them an extended period of time to do it and it had to be done by a certain day and then we would get into projects and hands-on stuff and debates and everything once that time was up. So, I did it as regular homework but just different than the regular homework, a traditional homework model would be as you’re doing it before. This is the stuff that we’ve gone over. I’m not going to beat a dead horse here.

But again, it’s just sort of shifting, you can’t try to plan the way that you would plan a normal lesson or all in the classroom. You have to think about the time a little bit differently, and then piece together because again if you’re not doing direct instruction all of the time, which is part of what the blended model is, you can scale down on some things and then expand on others but then put it into the timetable that you had set before you.

So, I hope that makes sense. If it wasn’t really clear, or you’re hung up on part of that or whatever, make sure that you ask. No big deal. I’ve gotten a lot of emails lately. So, on that note, I will let you go. I will let you think and if you have any questions or comments or thoughts or whatever in the meantime comment. You can send me an email, send me a message. Happy to help out. So, enjoy your day. Hopefully, you’re doing something relaxing or fun tonight, socially distant always. But enjoy that and I will see you again next Saturday at 9 am Eastern Standard Time.

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