From experience – the block works best when the people doing the block WANT to block! That’s what a good master schedule can do. Make a regular schedule “blockable” for those who want the option.
Who wants to block – typically Reading, ELA, SCI, Art. A fair number of social studies teachers too. Math teachers typically steer clear of block – but it is fundamentally an individual teacher preference. Some teachers want the extra time to do deeper, do more, work across disciplines, or make a huge project/mess/experiment!
Block is awesome – if you want it.
Block is the worst thing you can do – if you hate it.
So, don’t block your school – partner your block people! Here are some ideas to allow block without “blocking”.
Pick two teachers of a grade level that want to block – make their classes “touch” in the schedule. You know, first and second hours… Third and forth hours… Pairs of classes. Make sure that their rosters are identical (this doesn’t work as easy in high school- but easy from 9th grade down). Once they are “partnered” they can simply hold their group for the double class whenever they want. Then switch starting spots on the next day.
Easy right? It actually is.
Can you partner up 3 courses – sure. Just make the student pool the same for the three classes. Let the teachers modify their own three classes as a mini-school/mini-block anytime they want. They can gather all 90 kids together for a long group block. They can gather all 90 kids for one hour then run through the three classes on a quick rotation. Many options and minimal disturbance to the rest of the school’s schedule.
The trick it to take the time to buddy up the blockers in the schedule (leaving the overall arrangement traditional) – then make sure the rosters are incestuous – apologies for the word but it’s right.
If you have questions – hit me up on twitter. @drmattparker