For some educators, the idea of teaching in a block schedule might be new. This is especially true if you have recently moved from the primary or middle school levels to a high school. You might be wondering how you can change your approach given the change in the duration of instructional time during the day. Don’t worry! Below, we will provide 12 strategies for teaching in a block schedule.
12 Common Strategies to Help Keep Students Engaged
When it comes to block scheduling, there are a some common strategies that can help keep students engaged. Here are a few to consider:
- Make sure your lesson is well-organized and that you know exactly what you want to cover. This will help you use your time wisely and keep the lesson flowing smoothly. The last thing you want to do is not have a plan for an entire block. That is a lot of time wasted.
- Start off each class with a review of the previous day’s material. This will help students remember what they learned and be ready to learn new material. Not only is generating prior knowledge a good best practice, it will help you structure your lessons.
- Take time to fully review the learning objectives for the day. Have students discuss the objectives. They should also be asked to self-assess where they are on the objectives.
- Incorporate a mix of activities into each class period. This could include things like lectures, discussions, group work, and individual work time. This can also include mixing up instructional strategies so students are not asked to approach the same tasks in the same ways all the time.
- Make sure to vary the pace of each class period. This will help keep students from getting bored or feeling overwhelmed.
- Pay attention to the amount of time each activity takes. For example, if you’re lecturing for 20 minutes, make sure to follow up with a 10-minute activity that allows for student interaction. Be conscious of student talk and opportunities you take for 10:2s and turn and talks. Utilize these often.
- Use technology wisely. Technology can be a great tool for engaging students in learning, but it should be used in moderation with clear expectations. Not every lesson needs technology.
- Take breaks! Breaks are important for both students and teachers. Students need time to process information and regroup, and teachers need a chance to catch their breath too! These can be brain breaks and are in line with social-emotional learning.
- Make use of group work and other collaborative activities. These can be great ways to engage students and help them learn from each other.
- Take advantage of any extra time you have at the end of class for review or assessments. This will help ensure that students understand the material and are ready for the next class period. Use things like K/W charts and process grids so students can continue to construct their learning.
- Be flexible: Be prepared to adjust your plans as needed. A block schedule can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible in order to make the most of the time you have.
- Communicate with parents. Keep parents updated on what’s happening in class and what their child is working on. This communication will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone knows what’s expected.
Block scheduling can be a great way to increase instructional time and allow for more in-depth exploration of topics, but it takes careful planning to make sure that it is effective. These strategies will help you make the most of your block schedule and ensure that your students are engaged and learning. Do you have any other tips for teaching in a block schedule? Share them with us @enrichstudents on Twitter or Facebook.