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Teachers Advocate to Alter Class Schedules to Fit Common Core Instruction

Teachers Advocate to Alter Class Schedules to Fit Common Core Instruction

Due to heightened concern over establishing Common Core successfully in the classroom, some school districts are altering their class schedules to allow more time to cover the standards. In some schools, class periods are being lengthened in order to fit it all in. 

Educators in Pennsylvania, California, and Delaware "are calling for a restructuring of the school day so that students spend more time in each class. Instead of the typical class period of about 45 minutes, schools are lengthening classes to upwards of 90 minutes to cover all the material and allow teachers to change the way they teach to meet the new requirements," said an article on TheHechingerReport.com.

Jamie Wall, a math teacher at Brooklawn Middle School in New Jersey, the article said, "used her state’s shift to Common Core to fulfill a teaching dream- her math students spending the entire period working collaboratively in groups, but says that her school’s schedule isn’t ideal for this kind of teaching."

“From the beginning of my teaching career, I didn’t want to just be up there and teach them,” said Wall. “I wanted to get them into groups and get them talking to each other about math concepts. I wanted them to develop math strategies and solve problems together. That all works very well for Common Core. “I teach in 40 minute periods. This type of collaborative learning can be done in 40 minutes, but it’s hard.”

“Most of the high performing schools we have seen do not maintain the 40- or 45-minute block schedule,” said Jennifer Davis, cofounder and president of the National Center on Time and Learning, a non-profit dedicated to redesigning and expanding school time in the article. “In those schools, when you walk into a classroom you see four or five groups of kids, some are getting support through high-quality computer programs, some are working in a small group with a teacher and some are working in small groups just among themselves. It is very difficult to do that kind of rotation in a typical 45-minute block.”

Other Common Core math supporters, the article said, "often pointing to Japanese classrooms, have suggested that teachers could spend upwards of 15 minutes just discussing the ins and outs of a single problem."

“We haven’t heard a call specifically for block scheduling,” said Donna Harris-Aikens – Director of Education Policy and Practice at the National Education Association.“But what educators are calling for is more time. More time if we want to have kids do things like work collaboratively but also more time for educators to talk to each other about what changes might need to be made in what is taught and how it is taught."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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