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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I love the lack of rush.

I miss teaching on a 90 minute block.

Today, I got a reminder of why.

Don't get me wrong, it has its downside.

I hated going 3, 4, 5 days between classes on long weekends.

I hated trying to keep track of homework.


There are so many things I love about block scheduling.

I love the ability to dig in to a discussion and follow where ever it leads.

I love the chance for students to complete a writing assignment from beginning to end.

I love the opportunity for students to read for 30 and 40 minute chunks of time.

I love that I can use a opening and closing activity without running out of time.

I love the ways I can promote student dialogue...and then incur immediate application of an idea.

I love the lack of rush.

Because of the need for long uninterrupted chunks of time to administer state testing, I get to enjoy a couple of days of block scheduling.

That was my day today.

It was long. I had four classes and no plan period.

It was hard. I had forgotten how exhausting doing all those things in one class period can be.

It was also awesome.

In every class, students worked on grammar (subordinating conjunctions), read silently, wrote, discussed the book, read a poem, discussed that poem, and wrote a poem of their own.

I was so impressed with even my most rambunctious students.

It was a delicious reminder of how eager they are to just read.

Watching them get comfortable and embrace reading is, well, fun.

One kid made himself a cocoon under a curtain I have hanging from my shelf. Seriously.

Another laid down on her back on the floor, put her feet on my rolling stool and gently pushed it back and forth as she read.

Several read in their laps (And they weren't asleep or on their phones either. I checked).

Way back when, I taught a seminar course that was essentially a reading and writing lab.

Students would lay on the floor or across the AC unit or sit under desks and read. I always let them read until restless.

And every single time, I was surprised that they read for 30, 40, 60 minutes at a time.

Today was kind of like that.

Since we are not used to long classes, I set a timer for between 27 and 34 minutes each hour (Weird numbers work better. I don't know why.).

Basically every hour, if I hadn't said anything, most would not have noticed the end of their reading time.

The last hour of the day, I asked them to find a place to stop.

Nothing happened. Not one kid so much as looked up. They kept reading.

It took three tries to get them to disengage from their books.

Part of me really wanted to just let them keep reading...but I had a plan...and I know this group, they would have made me pay for it later in hyperactive disorder.

I love seeing them read.

As I have said before, and I will surely say again, reading is always a good thing.

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