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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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