Fifth Grade Transitions to Block Schedules

Colin+Burket+%28left%29+holding+%22Larry%22+the+Gecko+and+Alex+Starr+%28right%29+are+two+fifth+grade+students+who+just+switched+classes+for+the+first+time.

Kelton Raabe

Colin Burket (left) holding "Larry" the Gecko and Alex Starr (right) are two fifth grade students who just switched classes for the first time.

The fifth graders are just like the “big kids” now. 

For the first time at Tyrone Area Middle School, the fifth grade switched classes at the end of the second marking period. This marks the end of the middle school’s transition to block scheduling, as the sixth through eighth graders made the switch to some semester classes last year.

I like switching teachers and classes because it’s fun to learn about new things”

— fifth grader Hailey Lowery

At TAMS, fifth graders previously had one period of all subjects, except reading, which was taught for two periods, each day of the school year. Beginning this year, after the second marking period ended, the students switched from a social studies class to a science class, or the other way around.

The fifth graders also have two periods of math and reading all year, and one period of writing. 

The switch occurred on January 17, and so far most of the students seem to like the change.

“I like switching teachers and classes because it’s fun to learn about new things,” said fifth grader Hailey Lowery.

However, to make this transition possible, the fifth graders had to give up recess and intervention time.

“We were disappointed to lose our recess and intervention time, but were glad to gain additional math time,” said fifth grade teacher Kelsie Bumbarger.

For fifth graders, everything is new: new teachers, new classes, new building, so the teachers were concerned that switching teachers and classes might be a difficult transition for some students.

At first, some of the students were overwhelmed with the idea of block scheduling. Many were sad to leave the teachers they knew, but they were also excited to have new teachers and subjects.

I like block scheduling because you can learn from new teachers and they can learn about (us)”

— fifth grader Mela Bartel

“Both social studies and science have fun characteristics, but each is different in their own ways. I had fun in social studies, and now I’m having fun in science. I don’t really like the change in schedule, but other than that it is really fun,” said fifth grader Madeline Sutt.

In fifth grade the social studies classes learn about ancient civilizations and Pennsylvania history, while the science class focuses on animal classifications, geology, and the scientific method.

According to the fifth grade teachers, block scheduling allows them to cover more content in their classes, and teachers get to know their students on a more personal level. Teachers are able to cover more because there is less transition time between classes, and they spend less time reviewing lessons.

“I like block scheduling because you can learn from new teachers and they can learn about (us),” said fifth grader Mela Bartel.