Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Middle School Daily Schedule

I am always so curious what the daily schedule is like at other middle schools.  Our 7th grade students have four core academic classes that meet for 60 minutes each: Math, Literacy, US Studies, and Science.  They also have three 45 minute periods where they are in encore classes, or they may take a class called Core Plus that meets A or B days (some students have both days, but always meet with two different teachers). They also have a 20 min homeroom period at the end of the day called Homebase. When I mention CP or HB in a blog post or on Twitter, people often have no idea about what I am referring.  This post will hopefully give you all a clearer picture about how our middle school structures our daily schedule.

My official workday is 7:30-3:30.  The official student day is 7:50-3:15, but our students are allowed to enter our classrooms at 7:40 AM.  That leaves 25 minutes of prep time combined before and after school.

I drop my son off at the high school on my way to school so I usually arrive between 7:10-7:15 AM.  My before school prep time consists of turning on my computer and getting it set up for the day.  I need to pull up any SMARTBoard files, Power School for attendance, and open up my Online Gradebook.

I then look through my lesson plans and daily file to make sure I have everything ready for the day.  I will look over the math lessons I'm teaching that day.  I eat my breakfast during this time which is maybe a hard boiled egg and a cup of hot tea.

Honors Math 7:  I teach one section of Honors Math 7.  This class moves at a much faster pace because we are "trying" to cover 3 years of curriculum (7th grade, 8th grade, Integrated Math 9) in 2 years.  We finish the 7th grade curriculum and start on 8th grade sometime during third or fourth quarter depending on our pacing that year.

Math 7:  I teach three sections of Math 7.  We spend the entire year learning the 7th grade curriculum.

Prep Period:  This is a VERY QUICK 45 minutes.  Sometimes I feel like I'm able to get nothing accomplished if I have to go down to my mailbox (on the other end of the school at least a 3 min walk one way).  I accomplish much more if I have a to do list and am organized.  I'm often interrupted by a colleague needing to chat about something (or I am the interruptor).  I really worked hard this year to establish some guidelines for myself how to be more productive during this time. Each day of the week I try to focus on different tasks to stay ahead of the game.  That will be another post in and of itself.  I also might have a meeting scheduled during this time or need to contact a parent which means my to do list for that day remains untouched.

Core Plus:  I have a different group of students for A/B day.  Both of these groups are math intervention. Last year I was the 7th Grade Tier II interventionist and I will be again this coming school year.  With my Tier II group the students work on a computer program called SuccessMaker (let's just say my enthusiasm for it is lukewarm) for a certain amount of minutes per week and they take Aims Webs Probes every other week for our Progress Monitoring Data. I also spend time trying to keep them on track for math class.  We spend lots of time reviewing for or relearning and retaking assessments.  The students I had this past year were awesome.  By the end of the year, none of them were my own math students, they were all from the other two houses.  I enjoy working with these students very much and hope next year goes equally well.  

The other day when I just have a regular intervention group I do a combination of pre-teaching, skill practice, and reteaching.  These are students that just may need a little extra time or explanation to help them succeed in math.  I try to do a lot of front loading with the upcoming material we are studying so students feel confident in math class and are more likely to participate in class and group discussions.

I absolutely love Core Plus and think it's one of the best things our school has done to help our students be successful.  My students love being in this class and when they start being really successful in math class, I try to nudge them out of my Core Plus, but they almost never want to leave.  I think that says a lot about the class and how worthwhile they feel it is to get that extra help.

Lunch:  After CP it is time for a very quick less than 30 minute lunch.  We are supposed to get a 30 min lunch, but the bell rings a minute late and the lunch supervisors tend to let the students in 3 minutes early so you can do the math to see how quickly that time flies.  I try to eat with my friends nearly every day.  It's important for me to decompress, have some adult interaction, and hopefully have a laugh or two.  Some days I eat in my classroom or on the fly if I'm swamped with grading or other planning, but I really try to not miss lunch with my friends.  We all deserve the break.

Team Planning:  This is our PLC time.  We meet four days a week with our content teams.  I meet M, T, W, F with the other 7th grade math teachers.  We plan and collaborate during this time on upcoming units and assessments.  On Thursdays we meet as our House Teams (made up of a teacher from each of the four core subject areas and in two of our three houses, also a special ed teacher).  This time is also heavily scheduled (sometimes it seems) with meetings and IEPs.  It's hard sometimes to accomplish what we need to when we get interrupted so much, but when we need to talk about students often times it simply cannot wait.

Homebase:  This is a 20 min period at the end of every day.  Each core teacher (and a few encore teachers) has a group of about 20 students that are assigned to them.  During this time students can sign a digi-pass to meet with any teacher they need to see for help.  Students usually come to me if they need to finish an assessment from earlier in the day, or if they are struggling to understand something from the day's lesson or homework.  Also if any of my 5th or 6th hour students did not have their assignment done they need to show me that it's completed before the end of Homebase or they will end up having a working lunch the next day.  I have been so lucky the past few years to have really awesome kids in HB.  This year was my favorite group ever.
My awesome Homebase students that I love, love, loved!


  1. WOW! You have Team Planning and Prep Time! I am very jealous. We are headed into our second year as a high school on a 7 period day. We used to have a seminar (like your homebase), but it ended up as a mess after our previous seminar coordinator got a full time teaching position. I love that you call it Core Plus...we actually call it intervention. Core Plus sounds so much better.

    You aren't the only one who finds prep gets away from you. I started making lists and planned day, so I could accomplish more.

    Kovescence of the Mind

  2. I like this home base at the end of the day! Perfect time to send and receive that endless paperwork too. Our school has rigidly been at 8:28 to 3 with an early 2 pm dismissal on Wednesday. I like 53 minute periods. Wouldn't want any less.


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