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Block Scheduling & Choir

My school currently operates on a block schedule (4 classes on A-days, 4 classes on B-days) and I am trying to find a way to have several choirs while also maintaining my sanity with several different schedules.  Currently my large ensemble is split into Chorus 2, 3, & 4 which make up 4 class periods, then I have a class of beginners and a small advanced class.
Does anyone have a similar schedule that they have found works for them?  I have heard suggestions of playing an entire ensemble on one day and mixing levels in the class (Chorus 2, 3, & 4 combined over three periods) while working with smaller ensembles on the other day.  
Any insights?
Thank you!
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on May 21, 2014 5:37pm
Hi Jordan, 
I have taught a Block 8 schedule at least 15 years.  I teach at  the high school level.  I have 6 ensembles that meet every other day for 90 minutes.  I find that the 90 minutes works great for my upperclassmen, but sometimes a struggle for my freshmen.
I teach 3 choirs a day and then on one day I monitor a study hall and the other day I have my prep period.  
I am a little confused by the description of your schedule and choirs.  How many students are you teaching and how many choirs are you teaching?  Are you teaching one level ex. high school or multiple levels, jr. high and High school or are you THE music teacher for the corporation?  
My six choirs consist of a  beginning freshmen girls and boys choir, three intermediate choirs, women's mixed and a show choir and my advanced ensemble.  I have no control over when my choirs meet during the day.  Thankfully I have a very supportive administration and guidance department that schedules our schools choir and band classes first, since our class numbers are the largest in the school.  
The best thing about block 8, is the ability of our students to take music classes and still fulfill their academic requirements.  
I hope this helps.
Mary Evers
on May 28, 2014 4:21am
Hi Mary,
I direct three ensembles at the high school level--my large performance group, an a cappella class, and my beginners--which is how the program was set up when I came to the school.  My large performance group is made up of 4 class periods, my beginners 1 class period, and my a cappella group 1 class period.  Several colleagues within my state have a similar set up, but with 3 class periods containing their larger group, and the other 3 are other ensembles.  I am having a hard time getting my guidance & scheduling departments to jump on the wagon with scheduling the choirs to benefit the program.  
Thanks for your help!
on June 5, 2014 5:20am
Hi Jordan,
So... your large performance group meets for 4 class periods or you meet with sections of your large performance group over 4 class periods?  If it is the second scenerio, why not just make them 4 seperate groups?  In Indiana, where I teach, the state has 4 categories of vocal music classes:  Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced and Vocal Jazz. Does your state do the same thing?  Your groups may be a little haphazard for a while, but at least you could try making a change this way.
One more thing to consider, as the Music department chair, I know that each year I have an opportunity to submit classes for the next year.  The classes are then voted on by the department chairs and principals. Start submitting new choir classes to help divide and conquer your scheduling dilemma. This way you are going through proper channels and start changing the way your classes are set-up and organized. Adding classes/ or dividing them into sections (ex. Beginning 9th Girls choir and Beginning 9thBoys choir) will help you set your schedule up the way you want it be set up. 
You must remember above all  that change is slow in schools, but it is possible!
Best wishes!
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