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The Block Scheduling Handbook

The Block Scheduling Handbook

Second Edition

December 2008 | 288 pages | Corwin

"A wonderful guide for school leaders as they create a contemporary schedule for middle and high school students to take advantage of a variety of curricular offerings. This second addition is comprehensive, with numerous subject-centered examples and detailed specifics for those desiring to move to more advanced designs. It is no wonder why Queen is often referred to as the father of the new block schedule."
—Henry Peel, Wachovia Distinguished Professor
East Carolina University

A comprehensive, step-by-step handbook on making the most of block scheduling!

Block scheduling is one of the most popular ways of restructuring the school day, and schools engaged in some form of alternative scheduling have seen significant benefits. This ready-to-use guidebook provides educators with the tools they need to design a successful block scheduling program that results in better student-teacher rapport, more in-depth learning, improved discipline, higher morale, and better grades. Revised to include updated resources and a brand-new overview on block scheduling, this second edition provides:

  • Insightful discussions of elementary, middle, and high schools on the block, including an in-depth case study of an ideal elementary curriculum
  • Three specific block schedule models, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and ways to find the best fit
  • Classroom management and student-centered instructional strategies for the block
  • Guidance on curriculum alignment, instructional evaluation, and assessment methods
  • Forms and sample lessons to get programs up and running

For educators designing a new scheduling program or needing support for an existing one, The Block Scheduling Handbook is the ideal resource.

Dedication and Acknowledgments
About the Author
1. The Current Status of Block Scheduling
2. Block Scheduling and the High School
3. Developmental Aspects of Growth and Behavior
Physical Development From Early Childhood

Through Adolescence

Cognitive Growth

Characteristics of Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

Schemata and the Process of Assimilation, Accomodation, and Equilibration

The Sensori-Motor Period

The Period of Preoperational Thought

The Period of Concrete Operations

The Period of Formal Operations

Cognitive Theory and Block Instruction

Personality Development

Erikson's Stages of Personality Development

Implications of Erikson's Theory for Block Instruction

4. Building the Block Culture in the School
5. Selecting the Best Fit
The 4´4 Block Schedule Model

The A/B Block Schedule Model

The Modified Block

New Lesson Designs for the Block

6. Block Scheduling in the Middle School
The Middle School Defined

Characteristics of the Middle School

Team Teaching Interdisciplinary Teaming

Block Classes or Periods

Advisory Programs

Benefits of the Block Schedule in the Middle School

Shortfalls of the Traditional Schedule

The Flexible/Alternate/Navigate (FAN) Models

Advantages of Modified Schedules in the Middle School

Teaching in the Block in the Middle School


7. The Elementary School on the Block
Historical Events Impacting the Elementary School

National Initiatives

America 2000

Part 1: For Today's Students, Better, More Accountable Schools

Part 2: For Tomorrow's Students, a New Generation of American Schools

Part 3: For the Rest of Us (Yesterday's Students and Today's Workforce), a Nation of Students

Part 4: Communities Where Learning Can Happen

Goals 2000: Educate America Act

A State Example: The Elementary Curriculum in North Carolina


English Language Arts



Social Studies

Fine Arts: Dance

Fine Arts: Music

Fine Arts: Theater

Fine Arts: Visual Arts

Organizational Patterns

Disadvantages of Graded Arrangement

Alternative Possibilities for Scheduling

4-Blocks Model for Elementary Education

Parallel Block Scheduling


8. Aligning Standards and Course Content
Models for Use of Instructional Time

Limiting Content

Notes to Remember

Assigning Outside Content

Integrating Content: C-Clustering

Curriculum Alignment and Instructional Pacing

Curriculum Alignment Phase 1

Curriculum Alignment Phase 2

Instructional Pacing Phase 1

Instructional Pacing Phase 2

9. Sample of Curriculum Alignment and Pacing
10. Effective Instructional Strategies for Block Scheduling
Cooperative Learning

The Case Method

Socratic Seminar


Concept Attainment

Inquiry Method


Recommendations for Improving Block Scheduling for the Future

11. Teacher-Directed Instruction
Direct Instruction as a Teaching Model

Direct Instruction as a Continuum of Teaching Behaviors


Our Mr. Jefferson: A Sample Teacher-Directed Lesson

12. Discovery and Inquiry
Discovery Learning

History and Research

Promises and Pitfalls


The Inquiry Training Model

History and Research

Promises and Pitfalls


Building the Tower: A Sample Discovery Method Activity

13. Simulations and Role Play

Forms for the Simulation Model

Rationale for Appropriate Use

Lesson Design

History and Research

Promises and Pitfalls


Gifted and Talented Simulation: A Sample Lesson Using Simulation

14. Cooperative Learning
History and Research

Promises and Pitfalls

The Case Method


Building the Perfect School: A Cooperative Staff Development Activity

15. Synectics
History and Research

Gordon's Stages of Creativity

Promises and Pitfalls


To Kill a Mockingbird: A Syectics Sample Lesson

16. Socratic Seminar
Group Discussion and Student Participation

What Happened: A Socratic Seminar

17. Instructional Assessment
Methods of Instructional Evaluation


Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

Assessment of Student Acheivement


Unit Evaluation

Lesson Evaluation

A Positive Classroom Climate Through Instruction

18. Program Evaluation and Student Assessment
Reasons for Evaluation

Defining Program Evaluation

Instructional Evaluation


Evaluation Resource 1: Block Schedule Teacher Survey

Evaluation Resource 2: Teacher Survey: High School Instruction

19. A Guide to Traditional and Authentic Assessment
Writing and Evaluating Test Items

Parts of a Test Item

Categorizing Items on Cognitive Levels

Evaluating Test Items

Using Authentic Assessment for Student Evaluation

The Trouble With Tests Is...

What Is Authentic Assessment?

Brain Growth, Brain Enrichment, and Attention

Effective Implementation of Authentic Assessment

Multiple Intelligences and Authentic Assessment

Types of Authentic Assessment

References, Recommended Readings
Internet Resources

"The research-based principles espoused in this handbook helped transform our upper school into a true college preparatory institution. This complete how-to book provides valuable, concrete ideas for subject area teachers while supporting administrative efforts to maximize opportunities using block scheduling. I highly recommend this book if your school is initiating, adapting, or question the block scheduling approach. This book will reinvigorate your efforts to truly impact student learning."

James Freemyer, Associate Professor
Indiana Wesleyan University

"Should be required reading for every high school administrator and educators in general. By highlighting research-based best practices, the author has put forth cutting-edge strategies that will not only improve student achievement, but also provide teachers with 21st-century skills to differentiate instruction."

Jim R. Watson, Retired Superintendent
Lincoln County Schools, NC

"A wonderful guide for school leaders as they create a contemporary schedule for middle and high school students to take advantage of a variety of curricular offerings. This second edition is comprehensive, with numerous subject-centered examples and detailed specifics for those desiring to move to more advanced designs. It is no wonder why Queen is often referred to as the father of the new block schedule."

Henry Peel, Wachovia Distinguished Professor
East Carolina University

"An excellent step-by-step guide to all the stages of improving instruction on the block schedule at any level. As a guest faculty member at our university in China, Dr. Queen used the text to train numerous doctoral students, school principals, and classroom teachers in this scheduling practice. The new edition is even more advanced, with excellent designs and detailed activities in a variety of subject areas."

Ding Zhenguo, Vice President
China University of Geosciences

"This is the complete, step-by-step guide for administrators and teachers interested in all stages of going to or improving instruction on the block. Building on its predecessor as well as the author’s international and national reputation and experience, this edition includes numerous subject-centered examples and detailed specifics for those interested in moving to more advanced designs. If you have one book on block scheduling in your library, it should be this one."

Bob Algozzine, Director
Behavior and Reading Improvement Center

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