Ep 141: Fitting It All In (No Matter How Long or Short Your Class Periods Are) - EB Academics

Ep 141: Fitting It All In (No Matter How Long or Short Your Class Periods Are)

This is a question we get all the time in our EB Academics Facebook group: “How do I fit all my students’ learning into my [x amount of minutes long] class period?” Whether you’re wondering how to pack everything into 40-minute classes or you’re struggling to “fill” 90-minute class periods with learning activities, this podcast episode can help!

No matter the hand you are dealt when it comes to the length of your class periods, you can make it work with careful prioritizing and strategic planning. Jessica and Caitlin will explain how you can use the standards as your North Star to guide you as you schedule bell ringers, vocab and grammar lessons, reading and writing activities, and silent reading periods.

So take a listen as Caitlin and Jessica help you shift your mindset, embrace your class time, and create a class routine that packs in lots of learning while keeping students engaged.

Tune in now to hear:

  • [01:50] Caitlin challenges teachers to change their mindset regarding what can be taught in a class period
  • [02:30] Prioritize your lessons — Jessica explains the importance of being strategic in planning and ditching concepts that don’t need to be covered 
  • [04:00] Actionable strategies for using the standards as your guide as you prioritize your schedule
  • [05:30] #1: Strategies for the 40-50 minute class period
  • [06:30] Short class periods have no time to waste. Bell ringers can help! Caitlin shares a link to grab some for free (for the next 3 weeks only!) and explains how to use them
  • [08:30] Pick some days to focus on reading and some days to focus on writing
  • [09:40] How to fit vocabulary and grammar lessons into short class periods
  • [14:00] #2: Strategies for the 60-75 minute class period
  • [14:10] Caitlin and Jessica still recommend bell ringers
  • [14:30] Try to schedule both reading and writing activities in the same class period
  • [15:20] Jessica recommends ending these class periods with SSR (sustained silent reading)
  • [16:50] #2: Strategies for the 90+ minute class period
  • [17:00] Caitlin and Jessica encourage teachers to shift their mindsets on long class periods. They are a blessing when structured properly!
  • [17:20] How to break large class periods into structured chunks of time
  • [18:10] Caitlin shares how she gave students a brief yoga break in the middle of long class periods
  • [18:50] Routine is key for long class periods!
  • [19:30] Caitlin and Jessica share a great free resource to try out with your new schedule this year! Pick up The Literary Analysis Escape Room (which comes in digital AND print!)
  • [22:35] Join Caitlin and Jessica next week as they talk about why some teachers have that “x-factor,” and how you can, too!

Click here to listen now!

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  • This podcast info is very helpful; I have 53 minute classes. Thanks,

  • Would love to hear your thoughts on a dedicated 60 minute writing class! It’s difficult for me to fill all that time!

    • Hey Hailey,
      I can totally see where 60 minutes is overwhelming, but how great that your students should have plenty of opportunities to become excellent writers with that much time!

      I would spend the first 10 minutes on bell ringers reviewing a writing skill, then the next 10-15 min on direct instruction of the concept, then time to work on that particular skill in small groups or independently, and then wrap it up with sharing thoughts and a discussion with the class – what worked, what didn’t work. I would also incorporate grammar and vocabulary. So each Monday part of your class could be introducing those 5 vocab words for the week. Perhaps you choose to teach grammar on Wednesday and Thursdays for the last 20-30 min of class, and then every other Friday have a vocab test, and then one Friday a month also has a grammar test on all the concepts taught. Hope this helps.


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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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