90 Minute Classes? How Will I Survive?

Friday, February 10, 2017 - By: Ms. Cheryl Murtland

As we returned from Winter Break, the students, teachers and staff took on the challenge of trying out a different timetable for five weeks. We have just reached the end of the trial period and it’s a good time to show how teachers and students are experiencing one 90 minute class a week for each course they take in the academic morning.

Teachers were very aware of the possible impact of longer blocks and began developing lists of brain breaks and designing classes that took advantage of the extended time. Science classes have been able to complete labs in one class rather than trying to initiate a lab over several classes. Simulations and debates are happening in other classes where the momentum isn’t disrupted. One English 12 class took the opportunity to be a wandering “play” and visited different classes to perform a 10 minute version of Hamlet. Other courses are administering summative assessments that might have otherwise needed to be spread over two classes. One student reported that when he looked at the schedule when it was first published he thought it was horrible. Now that he’s living it, he loves it. Students do, however, report finding the long block before lunch difficult as they’re trying to concentrate and their stomachs are distracting them. Alumni will know ‘twas ever thus.

Students, teachers and staff have been asked for feedback on their experience with the new timetable. Following the midterm break, we will revert to the former schedule and the Timetable Committee will go through the feedback and decide what the next steps will be. The plan is to have a new timetable prepared for the 2017-2018 school year. It is a statement about our community that everyone was willing to try this, provide feedback, and then learn from the trial to improve upon the learning experience of our students.

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