Conversations Episode 86- Scheduling Pros and Cons

Post-Show description: 

This week, Lisa Parisi, Maria Knee, and Sheila Adams tackled the topic of scheduling.  We discussed the pros and cons of scheduling and tried to find an ideal way to schedule a school day.  Add to our discussion and maybe we'll come up with a solution.  One never knows.


11:28:22Lisa Parisi: Hi Peggy

11:28:25Sheila: Hi PeggyG!

11:28:32MariaK: good morning

11:28:34PeggyG: Good morning! I see the default is back to puentesalmundo...

11:28:37MariaK:  cy morning today

11:28:47PeggyG: are you using ustream today?

11:28:57MariaK: icy

11:29:07Lisa Parisi: yes, Peggy

11:29:21PeggyG: brrrrr... sorry to tell you but it will be 80 degrees in Phoenix today :-)

11:29:39PeggyG: Love that coffee mug!!

11:29:41Lisa Parisi: Peggy, that's not nice.

11:29:47PeggyG: where do we buy the mug????

11:30:02PeggyG: I bought the Advent Calendar from Jackie Lawson too :-)

11:30:05Sheila: :)

11:30:15PeggyG: it's not religious

11:30:46PeggyG: I bought it for a bunch of my friends and family too but some of them couldn't install the Adobe AIR to make it work

11:31:04PeggyG: I love it too!!

11:31:35PeggyG: Hi Maureen :-)

11:31:45Maureen: Hi Peggy

11:32:07PeggyG: the Wombat sounds tricky in public schools...

11:32:17PeggyG: clever Maria :-)

11:32:27Sheila: Hi Maureen!

11:32:30Lisa Parisi: HEllo Maureen

11:32:42Maureen: Hello everyone

11:33:02Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Hello all, What is the topic today?

11:33:09Sheila: Hi Scott!

11:33:10Lisa Parisi: HI Scott

11:33:15MariaK: we're just gabbing!

11:34:26PeggyG: Hi Scott-haven't seen you in awhile. Hope all is well!

11:34:59Lisa Parisi: Hello Karen

11:35:03PeggyG: Hi McTeach!!

11:35:29Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Hi Peggy.  It is the end of the semester..... homework crunch time.  Thanks for noticing.

11:35:34McTeach (Karen): Hello Lisa and Peggy!!


11:35:59PeggyG: I think of you often Scott and can't wait for you to begin teaching in your own classroom!

11:36:38PeggyG: I love my fake tree because I can keep it up longer. :-)

11:36:46Maureen: Wow, that's a ways up there

11:37:13Lisa Parisi: I too have a fake tree, Peggy.  We put it up yesterday.  Opened the box, straightened the branches, and voila!  Ready to decorate.


11:37:22PeggyG: yeah Maria!

11:37:54PeggyG: too funny!

11:37:58Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: 2 Week 'expeience' in kindergarten in Feb., the 16 weeks student teaching in August.

11:38:14Maureen: I always used to go cut my tree, but once the kids left, stopped doing it.

11:38:22Lisa Parisi: Scott...come to Long Island and student teach with me.  I'd love to have you.

11:38:45PeggyG: we had some of our family's biggest disagreements when we went out to cut our own tree! wasn't always the happiest of times...

11:38:55Sheila: I have a fake one this year.

11:39:24PeggyG: that's great news Scott! enjoy your Kindergarten experience!

11:39:31Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Lisa, I'm tring to get into the Univ. of Chicago Lab School (John Dewey school).  I'll call you if I can't get in. :-)

11:39:44Maureen: My son would always pick a gigantic(fat) tree. My little civic would be buried under it all the way home. Tree was always twice the size of the car

11:40:00PeggyG: what a site Maureen!! love it!

11:40:49PeggyG: I use lots of Pine spray scent for my fake tree :-)

11:40:59mdrechsler -> puentesalmundo: Hello

11:41:01Sheila: THat's exciting SCott!

11:41:06PeggyG: oooohhhh a kissing ball Sheila?????

11:41:25Lisa Parisi: I never thought of the tree smell.  Never had that.  Always had a fake tree.

11:41:29Lisa Parisi: As an adult

11:41:34Lisa Parisi: Never had one as a kid.

11:41:49Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: I surprised they are allowed to ship trees like that.  We have bans that forbid transporting firewood.  The emerald ash bore beetle is a big issue in the Midwest.

11:41:50PeggyG: it helps to make it feel more authentic Lisa :-)

11:42:03PeggyG: initeresting point Scott!

11:42:08Sheila: You never know Peggy!

11:42:17PeggyG: you're right Sheila!!

11:42:49PeggyG: Lisa can you give us an update on the book you're writing with Brian?

11:42:54Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: HUB?

11:43:40PeggyG: Lisa how do you keep all of those projects going at the same time?

11:43:43Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: ok.. I'll check it out.  

11:44:30PeggyG: fantastic!! can't wait to see your book!

11:44:59PeggyG: will check out your new blog entry

11:45:47MariaK: All you want to know about sunscreen for trees


11:46:00Lisa Parisi: Thanks for the link Peggy.

11:46:01PeggyG: cute Sheila!! so glad you could do that for her

11:46:36PeggyG: my kids decorated my entire home for me while I was in North Carolina and it was such a special surprise!

11:47:28PeggyG: scheduling was always one of my biggest challenges as a principal

11:48:03PeggyG: our planning was always collaborative with teachers but you can never please everyone!

11:48:27PeggyG: your schedule shows your priorities :-)

11:49:03Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: @PeggyG  That's the quote of the day!

11:49:03Maureen: My biggest problem with scheduling is that I am back to back with other subjects, some of which are divided by ability- makes it harder for those of us who don't depend on the student ability in Math or language, etc...

11:49:23Sheila: And I think that's the problem Peggy

11:50:20Maureen: I would love to have block scheduling- longer blocks would be a godsend for me

11:50:24PeggyG: trying to find common planning times for a grade level was a high priority for me but always a big challenge because it was based on availability of special area teachers to take the classes

11:50:30Lisa Parisi: HEllo Karen!  Glad you took my advice!

11:50:49KarenJan: just saw it -thanks! now to find the audio!

11:50:51Sheila: Hi Karen!

11:50:55Maureen: @Peggy- we have no common planning times. Wish that was built in- not holding my breath

11:50:57Lisa Parisi: ustream audio today

11:50:58KarenJan: Hi Shela

11:51:04KarenJan: sheila, oops

11:52:00PeggyG: we tried to schedule all of our math classes in the same block of time so students could be placed in any class they needed so one teacher didn't have to meet such a wide range of needs

11:52:09PeggyG: Hi KarenJan

11:52:22Maureen: Our kids have so many specials- it breaks it into too many small pieces. How do you switch your head around every 40 minutes? I have a hard time doing it as an adult- switching from class/grade level to the next.

11:52:52KarenJan: Hi Peggy

11:52:57KarenJan: great to be here this morning

11:53:03PeggyG: that is changing for us in AZ Maureen because schools can't afford to hire specialists and classroom teachers are having to teach it all

11:53:04Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: I like the big picture of block schedules, but there needs to be flexibility so we don't kill teachable moments.  Admins seem to have trouble with structure and flexibility coexisting

11:53:07Maureen: Since our school is small- we don't have the luxury of a bunch of sections for kids- it's usually 2 sections for each thing

11:53:21KarenJan: yes!

11:53:45PeggyG: you have to know how to use those blocks :-)

11:54:06Sheila: How many math classes is that Peggy?

11:54:24PeggyG: there are many different models for block scheduling

11:54:47PeggyG: Sheila for us it was all of the intermediate grades--grades 3-6

11:54:49KarenJan: does block scheduleing work better at middle or high school?

11:55:06PeggyG: I think it does KarenJan

11:55:27PeggyG: we had 4 classes at every grade level

11:56:11McTeach (Karen): An hour for lunch??? Wow!

11:57:19Maureen: We have 40 min ( 20 for lunch/20 min recess)

11:57:21PeggyG: our teachers didn't have lunch duty either

11:57:36KarenJan: what happens with indoor recess? do you have to cover that?

11:57:43Maureen: We don't have a cafeteria- kids bring lunch and teachers eat with them

11:57:50McTeach (Karen): We have 30 minutes...I usually wind up with about ten minutes to eat my PB&J

11:57:58PeggyG: our teacher aides had to cover indoor lunch recess

11:58:00KarenJan: our teachers would be jealous!

11:58:16KarenJan: what are your starting and ending times, Lisa?

11:58:19PeggyG: that's the sad story for so many teachers McTeach!!

11:58:32Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Our lecal emen teachers have no preps.  Have to teach gym and art themselves. 

11:58:36Maureen: We don't have planning times every day...

11:58:37McTeach (Karen): You mean YOUR principal doesn't take up your prep time with pointless meetings???

11:58:40PeggyG: teachers don't know how to eat slowly because they never get to and rarely get to finish a lunch

11:58:58KarenJan: in all my years working, I have never had a lunch. the life of a specialist

11:59:16Maureen: Ours is 8 to 3, plus mandatory sports/theater til 4:30 for grades 4-9

11:59:19PeggyG: @Scott--that's starting to be the case everywhere because of budget cuts

11:59:34PeggyG: that's so true KarenJan!!

12:00:21KarenJan: Lisa, is that type of school typical for your area?

12:00:32KarenJan: type of school day...i meant

12:01:07Sheila: Mandatory sports? Maurreen?

12:01:19PeggyG: we started scheduling our Resource Periods (pull-out classes for ESL, Gifted, LD, etc.) all during the same period for a grade level. It worked really well and the kids never felt they were missing things to leave for Resource class.

12:02:01PeggyG: how sad Sheila!

12:02:05KarenJan: lisa,what you are saying is impossible in this area - do you think it leads to more collaboration between teachers?

12:02:09Maureen: @Sheila- yes- mandatory co-curricular- choice of sports or theater, unless you are doing something (sport) outside of school 3+ days/week.

12:02:40Sheila: Do you have a late bus

12:02:40Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: We had parent issues a few years ago. PTA members stalked the school and noted who was late coming back from lunch....

12:02:54PeggyG: wow Scott!!!

12:03:09Maureen: @Sheila- yes, but many parents pick up, and there is no late bus for the NY kids

12:03:10KarenJan: Scott - that's antagonistic

12:03:18PeggyG: that suggests to me that parents felt they needed to be doing the job of the admin!

12:03:39Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Was a power struggle.... those children and parents have moved on now.  The issued is over.

12:03:58PeggyG: that's good!!

12:04:12KarenJan: the bank blew it - all the teachers should choose another bank!

12:04:18Maureen: Our admin put it in our handbook this year- cannot leave til 3:15. I leave if I am done earlier, since I am going home to work anyway. I think it's silly.

12:04:19PeggyG: :-)

12:04:54McTeach (Karen): I have to be on campus between 7:30 and 3:30 or the boss will write me up.

12:05:18KarenJan: to be honest, when I see teachers leaving within ten minutes of the kids, I wonder where there work ethic is. (they could have a prior appointment but who knows?)

12:05:22PeggyG: it's really common for teachers to have to sign out if they leave campus due to liability issues

12:05:23Maureen: I think it's funny that you have contracts that are specific. Mine says I have a job, and "other duties as assigned"

12:05:31Sheila: New staff now at the bank

12:05:39PeggyG: be glad Maureen!

12:06:24Maureen: @peggy mostly glad, but I have spent the weekend editing the video from our concert, and posting it to the web- still not done.  One of those other duties

12:06:28Lisa Parisi: Maureen, my contract is VERY specific

12:06:32PeggyG: when you have a big school it may take 2 hours to get through all of the lunches! that means lunch may start at 10:30 and not end until 1:00 sometimes

12:06:57KarenJan: great dropping in but I do have to leave. enjoy your day!

12:07:03Lisa Parisi: Bye Karen.

12:07:06PeggyG: so true Maureen! there is no limit to your job when it isn't specified

12:07:07Lisa Parisi: I missyou

12:07:11KarenJan: thanx for tweeting this lisa

12:07:12Lisa Parisi: We need to talk.

12:07:14PeggyG: bye KarenJan

12:07:34PeggyG: yes Lisa

12:07:56Maureen: @Lisa. Ours simply says you have a job, what your pay will be, and nothing else- just other duties as assigned... no grade, no subject, etc... It's good and bad.

12:08:24PeggyG: lunch and pullouts often drive the schedule--not good

12:08:37Lisa Parisi: Ours doesn't say grade or subject.  But other things are written prep time and lunch time...time starting and ending...class size

12:09:14Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: But they have to give up SOMETHING for a pull-out.  What to give up?  Core subject? Art? Music? Recess? 

12:09:18PeggyG: that's why our common Resource Period worked so well--pull outs all in same period

12:10:08Lisa Parisi: How do the pull out people fit all the kids at that time?

12:10:11PeggyG: with all of the pull-outs gone the teacher can really focus on the remaining "average" students who are often lost in the shuffle of special ed & gifted kids

12:10:20PeggyG: by grade level Lisa

12:10:41Lisa Parisi: Still the same question Peggy.  We have too many on a grade.

12:11:00PeggyG: we had four classes at a grade level

12:11:33Lisa Parisi: 2 per class means 8 kids in a small group...too large, IMO

12:12:08PeggyG: that's always an interesting thing to look at Maria! how much time you have your entire class together at one time..,

12:12:45PeggyG: our Resource classes had 2 teachers or aides to reduce ratio

12:12:59MariaK: yes Peggy - I consider it the time that I have control over - the time i can decide what happens in my classroom

12:13:40PeggyG: there's never enought of that time with all of the scheduling dilemmas!

12:14:10PeggyG: that's exactly the advantage of having a common resource time--they don't feel they're missing something

12:15:09Maureen: I have kids coming into the computer lab at lunch all the time now. They need to have more time in class, and they need to have more accessibility to the web.  They are overscheduled

12:15:24PeggyG: great solution Maureen!

12:15:33PeggyG: for the kids anyway :-)

12:15:58Maureen: Most of the lower school specials used to be in the morning- when I was in K. Gave me the entire afternoon to have the kids to myself

12:16:22PeggyG: having a co-teacher for inclusion is a fabulous solution!!! much better than pull-outs

12:16:42Maureen: @Peggy They aren't supposed to be in there if I'm not there. I break the rules- trust the kids to be working- and everytime I come in to check- they are

12:16:45Lisa Parisi: Yes Peggy.  Every class should have two teachers.

12:17:01PeggyG: I agree Lisa!

12:17:34Maureen: I loved co-teaching in K. Such a benefit for both the teachers and the kids

12:18:36PeggyG: good strategy Maureen! the kids are on task because they don't want to lose the privilege :-)

12:19:42PeggyG: learning doesn't just fit in nice little blocks of time!!!

12:20:57Maureen: When I taught science, as a special- it drove me crazy- the groups from the teachers were reading groups- and when they changed- my groups changed- even if the kids were working on a group project with me.

12:21:02Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Running a classroom is not like driving a train, following the rails.  Teaching is like steering a boat on a river... you have a destination, but you have to work with the current to get to your goal efficently.

12:21:15PeggyG: schools just don't have enough money to hire the number of teachers needed for flexible scheduling--unfortunately!!

12:21:48PeggyG: very nice quote Scott!!!

12:22:29PeggyG: but as we're hearing today as a teacher you don't always have control over steering your boat for your own kids

12:22:47PeggyG: lots of other variables you have to steer around

12:23:01Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: :D Thanks.

12:23:13PeggyG: such a good example of the dilemmas Maria!!

12:23:16Lisa Parisi: Peggy, I think we spend more time in the back of the boat, throwing out an oar every once in a while hoping to move the boat in a different direction.

12:23:33Maureen: phonicate?? :D

12:23:53PeggyG: I agree Lisa

12:24:18PeggyG: literacy vs phonicating :-) another big topic!

12:24:32MariaK: Is phonicate a swear word?

12:24:33Maureen: @maria I used to tell the parents that reading using just phonics was like listening to the music note by note

12:24:38PeggyG: don't know if that's a real word but it works...

12:25:18MariaK: I think phonicate comes from my Yetta and Ken Goodman years

12:25:20PeggyG: I really like that description Maureen!

12:25:32MariaK: exactly, maureen

12:26:10Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Phonicate sounds like a surgical procedure....

12:26:12PeggyG: I think you're right Maria--I have all of the Goodman books!

12:26:25MariaK: or maybe it was Frank Smith who taught me about phonicating!

12:27:19MariaK: @Scott - it is a surgical procedure - It is when the love of reading is removed.

12:27:32PeggyG: let's not use that word any more--the urban dictionary defines it as related to sex on a telephone!

12:27:44Lisa Parisi: LOL

12:27:50Maureen: @Sheila- that's one of the reasons we have mandatory sports

12:28:01Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: @Maria Ah, yes. Just like the Accelerated Reader program.

12:28:48PeggyG: yes Scott! I have lots of concerns about the way the AR program is implemented in schools

12:29:07Sheila: I like that idea Maureen

12:30:07Lisa Parisi: Don't even get me started on the AR program.

12:30:19Maureen: @Sheila- our kids over 6th grade don't have a regular gym class- this is mostly a way to make up for that. But they don't have room in their schedule for it- 2 languages, shop, etc... It's a trade off

12:31:22Sheila: We also have shared staff with the elem.

12:31:40PeggyG: we will never solve the scheduling issues!!

12:32:18MariaK: spoken like a full fledged principal - Peggy! lol :p

12:32:20PeggyG: we can only work to advocate for the kids with the best schedule possible

12:32:22McTeach (Karen): Not that kind of drama, Lisa!

12:32:31PeggyG: funny Maria!

12:32:38Maureen: It's middle school- drama is always a big part of the day


12:33:08McTeach (Karen): I definitely don't fit into school

12:33:18PeggyG: schools need to be transformed!!! stop trying to fit the centuries old model!

12:33:34PeggyG: thanks everyone!

12:33:36Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: Thanks all. 

12:33:49Lisa Parisi:

12:33:53McTeach (Karen): Thanks ladies...sorry I didn't contribute much today

12:34:05Lisa Parisi: Thank you all for being here.

12:34:14Sheila: Thanks everyone! Going back to read the chat latere.

12:34:17PeggyG: do you have solutions McTeach?

12:34:32PeggyG: would love to hear your take on all of this!!

12:34:34McTeach (Karen): No solutions this morning

12:34:39Scott Shelhart @kd9sr: BTW... love UStream much better than shoutcast.

12:34:45PeggyG: see you all next week

12:34:51Lisa Parisi:

12:34:57PeggyG: Alfie Kohn is being interviewed by Steve Hargadon very soon

12:35:03PeggyG: check Future of Education schedule

12:35:05Lisa Parisi: Bye all