Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Middle School timetable in Moscow

I've been meaning to share what Brian's school timetable looks like now that he is in Middle School. School starts at 830am and ends at 330pm just like last year but the way their days are structured now is pretty clever I thought.

Each class day operates on a "four-day semi-rotating block" schedule. Each period lasts 80 minutes. So you don't think of your days as Monday, Tuesday etc...but as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and then back to Day 1.

This model allows students to have classes at different times of the day, thus avoiding the same class always being studied the last block on Friday. It also ensures a more equal distribution of classes. For example, holidays (including self-declared ones :)), often fall on a Monday or Friday, so Monday and Friday classes are typically missed. A 4-day schedule means that the next school day's schedule is simply the next Day number, which avoids a student regularly missing the same class.

Humanities covers both Language Arts and Social Studies and takes up 80 minutes each day, or 400 minutes in a full week. That's about 6 hours and 40 minutes.

The same amount of time is allocated for Math, Science, World Language and PE, 80 minutes every other day. A Science day is a non-Math day and vice versa. So PE is given as much importance as the other 3 subjects. If PE falls on 2 days that week, that's 160 min, or 2 hours 40 min; if it falls on 3 days (1, 3, 5), that's 240 min, or 4 hours (In Elementary School, Sean gets 160 min of PE every week, which includes 80 min of swimming).

Music, Art & Design, Theatre Arts and Computer are all taught by specialist teachers. For Music, students choose either Choir or Band, and this is 80 min every 4 days. Art & Design gets 80 minutes every other day like PE, but only for half a year. The other half year is divided, one quarter for Theatre Arts, and one quarter for Computers.

And then you have Electives, 80 min every 4 days, like Music. A new Elective is chosen every quarter, and it ranges from Computer Graphics, Creative Writing, Forensics, Breadmaking, Model UN, Sewing and even Intro to Chinese Language and Culture.

Students are mixed around for the different classes. However, they are all assigned to an Advisory. Each Advisory has about 10-15 children with an advisor who serve as the students' advocates and guides them through the year. Advisories meet for half an hour daily and during this time, they engage in activities and discussion which focus on academic progress, social development, personal growth, community awareness and specific current events as well. For example, one week, advisories may focus on organisation/study skills, the next they may be involved in self-awareness activities.

So on Day 1, Brian has Science and Humanities in the morning (with a 15 min break in between to get to their lockers and find their classes), 30 min of Advisory, a 40 min lunch, followed by Art and Elective after lunch. On Day 2, he gets PE and Math in the morning, Advisory, then French and Humanities. Day 3 is like Day 1, except Science and Humanities are after lunch, and you have Art and Band in the morning. On Day 4, French and Humanities are in the morning, while PE and Math are in the afternoon. And then you go on to Day 1. Kids get used to the schedule, but if they forget which day it is, the school calendar has it all printed or they can use Netclassroom, an online class grading software that also provides the daily timetable for each child.


monlim said...

Sounds like a pretty holistic system, I like that PE is given as much emphasis as academic subjects! The Day 1/Day 2 register probably needs getting used to though, I'm sure the kids will remember but I can just imagine myself going crazy when trying to remind Andre what books to bring :P

Lilian said...

haha...books aren't the problem cos everything's provided or left in school. It's the PE kit and band instrument that you need to remember.

And I'm shuddering cos when I visited the Bangkok school, it was an 8-day cycle GASP!

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

I remember we, parents, had an Orientation too when dd started MS. We were given a set of the timetable and was told to go from one room to another (for briefing). That was to give us an idea how "different" MS is since the kids do not have a std classroom now. It was a good experience!
Ya, I missed them having PE every other day. Over here, they only have PE like once every 6 day!

Lilian said...

You know, we weren't in Moscow when MS started but Brian did have an orientation before ES ended. I still reckon it must have been quite confusing when he first returned back after MS already started for 1 month plus.