Teaching middle school is not for the faint of heart. But if you're called to do it, you know there's nothing else quite like it. Join us in discussing what works - and what doesn't.

Middle School Schedules


My school will be looking at alternate schedules for the 2012-2013 school year to maximize instructional time, allow for time for special learning opportunities for struggling learners, and provide connection time for our interdisciplinary teams. I would appreciate any successful (and, possibly, "out of the box") scheduling decisions your schools have reached. In advance, thanks for your help!

Comments (11)

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Educator and School Counselor / Trinidad School District #1

so many factors

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The best schedule I've worked with created a core block for each grade level, and then two periods a day for electives and interventions. Common core planning was scheduling during elective periods.

First period Advisory

Grade Six

Electives periods 2-3, core periods 4-8.

Grade Seven

Core periods 2-3, Electives 4 and 5, Core 6-8

Grade Eight

Core periods 2-6, Electives periods 7-8

This fell apart when we lost sufficient students to accommodate common plan, and when "highly qualified" kicked in and most teachers didn't have the credits to teach more than one subject.

We're back to a typical junior high schedule. Our schedule is dictated by the qualifications of our staff. That's the reality. I would love to have a new school and hire educators to fill the ideal schedule, but for now, we have our staff, and the schedule is made to fit their qualifications.

Math Professional Development, former Math and Science Teacher.

Good question

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I was reading Kevin's response and was really getting sold on the inititive to keep core classes in the middle when he brought up the difficulties. Thanks for sharing.

Principal - Van Buren Middle School (Van Buren, OH)

We have a terrific schedule

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We have a terrific schedule that allows for interdisciplinary teams to be flexible.

2 hours of core time in the morning
Middle of the day - grade levels each have 40 minute advisory, 25 minute lunch, 40 minute exploratory, 40 minute music/electives - teachers have advisory, individual planning, lunch, and team planning
2 hours of core time in the afternoon

It's very simple and allows for terrific collaboration!

Jay Clark

middle grades Social Studies from Phoenix, Arizona

Still looking for the right fit.

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We are going into our 3rd or maybe 4th schedule for the year. We had 7 classes where each was about 40 minutes long with no scheduled passing time. The made it very difficult to be able to teach. We didn't have common planning time which ment that we would have to lose lunch or plan on our own time. Hopefully this new schedule will work best for all involved.

Parent of two boys

Arlington, Va.

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There is a proposal to move the middle schools in my area to block-scheduling. 80-minute classes for 6th graders and 90-minute classes for 7th and 8th graders. I know this offers opportunities for great teachers, but does anyone have experience with how this has worked for students, especially in terms of their attention spans? Thanks!

6-8 Arts and Humanities

Middle School schedule

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6th grade
Core periods 1-3
2 A&H, PLVS periods
Schoolwide intervention time 1:00-!:40
Core- periods 7-8

7th grade
Core team- 1-4
A&H, PlVS 2 periods

8th grade
Core 1st period
A&H, PLVS 2-3 periods
Core 4-5
Core-7-8 periods

Educator and School Counselor / Trinidad School District #1

I really like the idea of

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I really like the idea of schoolwide intervention time. In this way, those who need interventions are not denied electives, and those who don't need interventions are not denied electives due to teachers needing to teach more interventions. However, when the interventions are web-based (Compass Learning), we just don't have enough computers to do it all at once.

Back in the '90's we had M/E period; mastery/enrichment. Those who did not need what we now call interventions were provided enrichment activities. It was effective.

In the world the parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting so

Kids Activities

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For kids the Flexible scheduling speed up the transition from seminal school to high school. It creates a focused and creative learning atmosphere. The middle school is a time of change in a student's life instead of a single class. Home economical classes were presented in middle schools schedule. The Students start moving from one classroom to another and learning from different teachers.

Things to do with Kids

Former professional physicist, now teaching 7th grade science in Texas

Advisory Interventions + Scheduling

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We have a school wide intervention time during our advisory period that is largely ineffective because it is purely based on boosting math performance, though a great number of our kids don't need daily help in math. The thinking is that those kids who need extra help will get it from whoever their advisory teacher is (be it an English teacher or an art teacher), and the rest will be able to practice so that standardized test scores will rise. A few of us are now teaching microelectives such as multiculturalism, cooking, and I am teaching robotics.

Class periods are 45 minutes long, which cuts things like labs and fluid group working close, and advisory/intervention is 25 minutes before lunch. We are pushing for a blocked schedule at my campus, but the outlook isn't good because there is concern about student behavior due to the longer classes. I think that if the kids are in an engaging classroom environment, then 1.5 hour classes will work, given that the activities are broken into manageable chunks, and a variety of strategies are used on a daily basis.

would you be able to email me

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would you be able to email me your template of the terrific schedule?

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