Reply To: need advice on length of music classes
In my school K and 1st grade get one class per week 40 minutes long and one class per week which is 30 minutes long (I don’t get it frankly). But Grades 2-6 I see only once per week for 40 minutes. 6th grade’s time is always cut short due to the Middle School’s morning meeting in the cafe starting late. This bugs me; I always end up with under 30 minutes. For the older kids – Grades 3-5 – I actually enjoy the longer 40 minute block because there’s more time to really delve into a topic with different activities. They can handle sitting for longer and have a slightly longer attention span. Once a week is difficult, but I break it up into two or three activities and make it work. If offered two 30-minute classes or one hour-long class per week, I think I’d go with the two 30 minute periods. This primarily for attention levels and exhaustion!! Colleagues who have nearly hour-long classes say that they’re exhausted after one class; the teacher has to be constantly moving to keep kids’ attention.
One of my colleagues in another school sees her students once every other week for 40 minutes. Hearing this is when I count my blessings!! I can’t imagine expecting retention seeing them that infrequently. Some of my colleagues in other buildings have reported being issued a schedule with 55 minute periods for K and even PreK. They report that this is difficult because this age group needs lots of variety. So each class must have at least 6 different activities (under ten minutes each). It can be done, but two class periods is definitely more ideal.
One reason is assessment: let the lesson marinate overnight / for a couple days, then when they return ask them about what you taught last class. Another plus of two 30-minute classes is that if you dont’ get somethign done (curricular or a game) it can be done the next class. …. Some of my K and 1 classes meet for 40 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next day. I often run over with a given activity; the kids will remind me that I said I was going to do something else, so I write it down to do the next day. Or I simply bribe them haha: “If we can get through this (long-ish) rhythm activity today, then tomorrow we can play the game for the last ten minutes of class.” Particularly younger children get tired easily (Ks in my district don’t do half day or naps) and after 30 minutes they’re done. They start talking, getting ancy and start bothering each other. ….. In a 50+ minute class period, that’s when you’d go into a sung story or a song with hand movements. But you’re more likely to have cranky kids.
Middle school in my building (grades 6-8) have 55-minute periods (the bell rings on their schedule).
That’s kinda scattered, but I hope it give you some info!!