It’s that time of the year….TESTING! At my site, the English and Math teachers test students while the other classes teach on a block schedule. This may not be a big deal for you if you already teach that way, but the transition can be tough for some.
One of the best ways to make this time productive is to have students demonstrate what you just taught them midway through the block. The following are some ideas, even for math and English.
Use Thinglink to annotate how they solved a problem. They can take a picture of a graph they created and explain how to write the equation for different points.
Have student create a collaborative study guide based on a section in the textbook or a lecture using either Google Sheets or Google Docs. Or have them create a multiple choice question and submit it as an assignment. Use these questions to create a Kahootquiz as a review during the next class block
Create an Explain Everything presentation to “reteach” or explain the concept they just learned.
Create a movie trailer using either iMovie or Adobe Voice for a story they’ve read in class.
Use Google Slides to collaboratively create vocabulary “flashcards.” Have each person in a group create five slides with a vocabulary word and image (no translation!).
Have students create a spreadsheet in Google Slides to document their progress on different fitness tests such as height/weight, modified pull up, trunk lift, and mile times. At the end of the year, have them write a reflection on whether or not they’ve made progress in any areas, as well as how they can improve.
Mix and Match
Obviously these ideas are interchangeable between different content areas!
Block schedules allow the students to really delve into a subject without being rushed. Teachers can also extend an assignment with some sort of formative assessment, and then reteach the concept to a small group of students that are still struggling. This can be tough to do in a normal 56-minute period!
Activities that aren’t necessarily the best use of the block
- Watching a 90-minute movie
- Reading five chapters in a textbook and answering questions at the end
- Playing Kahoots or reading an Accelerated Reader book for the entire block (it gets old FAST)
- Study Hall
- Crossword puzzles, word search, or coloring pages
- Complete an endless sea of packets
Lisa G says
Many years ago I taught high school when the block schedules first came out. We chose to add block schedules to be able to do longer hands-on lessons. This is ideal for classes that are already hands on (woodshop, cooking, etc.). But as a special ed teacher teaching basic skills, I liked it as well. I agree with you, that you definitely can NOT do the same thing for the whole 90 minute block. Instead I would either have a longer lesson planned (i.e. lesson then lab in science) or I’d plan several activities. Maybe the first part was lecture or reading text and answering questions. But then we would do a group activity or project. For example, kids loved taking turns being the teacher. So partway through the year, instead of me lecturing and leading the class in reading the text and answering questions, the kids prepared and taught the lesson. If they were able to, I would have them come up with the questions and answers.
Sometimes we would also join a general ed class in the same area such as doing a life science lab (general ed had much better equipment!) But I also did that with English classes as well, I will never forget the poetry groups that compared poems using the latest technology at the time (before the internet), which were these huge laserdiscs (bigger than vinyl music albums).
Kim Lepre says
I really love this idea of having the students teach a lesson! I’m going to have to try that!