The post below is an update to an earlier post I wrote about some of the challenges my school is facing in developing our timetable.
After heading in school this week to prepare for the year ahead, one of our assistant principals presented the timetable she had developed over the school holdays.
This year, our school will be moving from a traditional Monday-Friday, 5 day a week timetable to a 7 day timetable.
Under our old model, our timetable would run from Monday to Friday and then repeat again the following Monday. With our new 7 day timetable, the cycle would start on Monday (Day 1) and run through to the following Tuesday (Day 7). The cycle would then repeat itself; Wednesday would then be Day 1, Thursday would be Day 2 etc…
In the event of a public holiday, PD Day etc…. we can remove this day from the count and continue with the count the following day.
STRENGTHS OF THIS APPROACH:
Running with a 7 day timetable ensures that all of our classes will have access to the full compliment of specialist subjects (Art, PE, LOTE, ICT, Performing Arts and Environmental Science) being offered at our school. (Originally, we thought that some of these would need to rotate on a semester basis).
From a specialist teaching point of view, it also means that you won’t have the same class each week on a Friday afternoon or a Monday morning, meaning energy levels will vary throughout the term.
By removing days such as public holidays and other school events from the cycle, it means that certain grades won’t miss out on their classes and teachers won’t miss out on their planning time.
It has also allowed for teaching teams to receive APT together to allow for collegiate planning; something essential as we move towards a collaborative, co-teaching approach.
Personally, I am excited as I will be working inside the classrooms this year with class teachers as part of their co-teaching team to deliver ICT instead of being an isolated subject. I can see great potential working in with the classroom teacher, but at the same time, this new approach has left me thinking a great deal about what it might look like and how it will operate. I’m keen to setup blogs for each of the co-teaching teams within the school and use my lessons with the classes a chance to model this to both the teachers and students and develop something that they can then continue independently. Our school is also hoping to develop global links with other schools and I can see the blogs being a great vehicle for this to occur.
As someone who works digitally, I am struggling at the moment to find an efficient and effective way of managing this 7 day cycle. I use Microsoft Outlook to manage my calendar\work program and set each of my classes to repeat weekly. Under this new 7 day cycle, I am unable to create a re-occuring appointment that occurs 7 days apart, as weekends are included in the cycle. Given it takes 3 weeks for the cycle to return back to Day 1 being on a Monday, I had thought I could create a reoccuring appointment to reoccur every 3 weeks, however with days taken our for public holidays and other events, this confuses the cycle and makes it difficult. Other than entering each class I teach individually for the term, I’m struggling to find a way to do this.
I was also hoping to be able to post what day of the cycle it would be to the calendar we have setup in our Staff Community Space on the Ultranet. Again, without the ability to exclude weekends in the re-occuring appointment cycle, I would still need to enter each day of the cycle individually. I am wondering if there is a widget or something I could add in using an iFrame, so I’m on the search to find something to help me out with this.
Another concern is how this will impact on our Yard Duty Timetable, which has remained in the Monday-Friday format. If class teachers are running clubs or meetings at lunchtimes, most of them will run these on days they have APT to avoid a full day without any breaks. Occasionally, this could mean that Yard Duty would clash with their lunchtime activity. I think this is an area that requires further thought.
I remain excited however by the idea of moving to this new timetable system. I think it is an innovative way of addressing some of the issues we were concerned about last year as our school continues to grow rapidly in size.
Does your school operate on a similar timetable cycle ?
What have you found to be the strengths and\or weaknesses of this system ?
Have you found an effective and efficient way of managing your schedule\work program\calendars ?