Block Periods: Explained
A recently decided method of learning is being introduced to the middle and high schools in the form of block periods. Instead of having exams and midterms, the end of each quarter will consist of four days in which teachers will have 97 minutes per period to have exams or projects if they wish, or to try new kinds of learning in their classes.
Block periods for the first quarter will be October 11-19, starting with all odd periods on Tuesday and Thursday, and even periods on Wednesday and Friday. There will be almost double the amount of time between each period, and only four periods per day.
Lunches will be split into four sections, A, B, C, and D, during either fifth or sixth period depending on the day, and everyone will have 30 minutes to eat during those two periods. Two of these sections will be lunch’n learns, where guidance counselors will discuss a variety of topics, such as the heroin epidemic in Central Ohio. Classes during fifth or sixth will be split into three sections, two of which will be the class and one being lunch.
All of the high schools are participating in this approach.
Assistant Principal Matt Middleton was on the board that decided to change to block periods, which is largely motivated by not wanting students to go home after their exams, like many did two years ago.
“We tried something last year, and it went okay but the consensus that was we could do better…it will be an adjustment at first for both students and teacher. I think teachers will enjoy having plenty of time,” Middleton said.
This extended time will be used for longer labs, activities, projects, or something out of the ordinary than the usual class agenda. Teachers are using the extra time for both academic advancement and more fun approaches to their class material.
Psychology teacher Matthew Fox’s A.P. class will be preparing for A.P. essays, as well as a less demanding project. His Sociology class will be learning about how food impacts culture.
Fox likes how the new system is progressive, experimental, and gives a chance for expanded lessons.
“It allows teachers a little bit of range to practice…to give a lesson that they could otherwise not given,” Fox elaborated, “Not just for testing, but lessons that you couldn’t do in a 45 minute window. It allows teachers to be creative and do things they couldn’t do before.”
The art classes are using these 97 minute classes to participate in a cross class experience called the Tour of Art, where students from various classes will get to experience what the other art classes do every day in six different 30 minute stations.
Art teacher Valerie Kulick-Brown is in support of block periods because they give her the chance to try something new in all of her, and other art teacher’s, classrooms.
“I teach a lot of different courses with a lot of different grade levels and I think this is a great opportunity to bring all of those different mediums together, and allow [students] to explore mediums they never would have,” Kulick-Brown explained, “I think it’ll be fun to get the students out of their comfort zones…bring them to a different room, pair them with different people, and give them a different experience.”
This schedule will happen three more times throughout the year, at the end of every nine weeks.
Written by Olivia Deslandes and Madeline Capka