Most math teachers would love a longer class period! I taught a 100 minute class one year, and it definitely had its pros and cons:
Pros of a 100 Minute Class Period
- More time
- More instruction
- More support
- More practice
- At the end of the year a student has had double the amount of time in that class than a traditional schedule
- You should definitely be able to get through your scope and sequence with 100 minute class periods
- If you had 100 minute classes, you probably have less students over all
Cons of a 100 Minute Class Period
- 100 minutes is a loooooong time
- Students get distracted
- Classroom management is tough for that long of a time period
Things to Consider
- Students are with you for double the amount of time, but that does not mean that you simply extend a 50 minute lesson. How can you be efficient and productive with the time?
- Students need structure. How can you develop a routine that breaks up the 100 minutes but still provides structure?
- Students (and adults) have a short attention span. A good rule of thumb is that new learning should not take longer than 1 plus your students’ age, so if you teach 12 year olds, your notes should last no longer than 13 minutes (12+1).
Below is just one way to structure your 100 minute class period. Sometimes things do not go according to plan, but it is always a good idea to have a structured routine for both yourself and your students, especially if you will be with them for so long. 🙂
Do First/Bell Ringer/Warm Up 5-10 minutes
I used a very straightforward warm-up routine to get students working when they entered the classroom. The goal is that students can get started without needing assistance from me or their peers.
I used this time to:
- Greet students with a warm smile
- Check homework completion (if I assigned it)
- Take attendance
I would start a timer after the bell rang for 5 minutes and project it. When the timer went off, I spent the next 3-5 minutes either going over the warm up, going over last night’s homework, or a combination of both.
Hook 2-5 minutes
These few minutes are a great time to introduce the objective and make real-world connections. It can also be utilized to review prior content that is connected or to have students review any new vocabulary. Anything that can create a bit of buy-in is beneficial.
Instruction 15-20 minutes
The goal of instruction is to give students enough information to understand the concept, but not so much that you are doing all of the heavy lifting in class. It is a fine line to walk.
If you need more than that recommended amount of time for direct instruction, that is okay! Give students the opportunity to practice and engage in a meaningful way before returning to direct instruction. Another idea is to assign our student videos, since they adhere to this time recommendation.
Remember that direct instruction isn’t your only option to teach a lesson. You could:
- Have students explore using manipulatives
- Think aloud or model
- Ask students to build upon previous knowledge
- Use the Building Thinking Classrooms approach
Lastly, I think it is important to note that if you are using our curriculum, you do not need to go over every single problem on a student handout. Work the problems ahead of time, decide which are the most important, and then save the rest for small group work time.
Class Activity 20 minutes
This is the time period where students are engaging with the work in pairs or groups. In a 100 minute class, I recommend activities with movement, as well as collaboration. Sometimes we would do card sorts, but rather than sit at desks I would let students do the sort on the floor. Other times I would use stations or scavenger hunts to get kids up and moving or use math dates to have them work with various people. I would circulate and answer questions at this time. If you have a simple worksheet, make sure to read how to turn any worksheet into an activity.
Recap 5 minutes
As the activity wraps up, take a few minutes to recap what they have learned by asking students to summarize the lesson. Depending on the activity you could go over various responses or work a few of the difficult problems together.
Skill Practice 5 minutes
Most students have some need for remediation, gaps in their mathematical foundation, or need to expound upon their problem solving skills. Each day I would spend no more than five minutes addressing basic math skills. At the beginning of the year this was multiplication charts with various missing numbers or adding and subtracting decimals. I often spent several weeks on number sense by practicing converting between fractions, decimals, and percents.
Station Work 30 minutes
I used this time to focus on small groups and remediation. I would work with small groups on their assignment, some students would work independently on a computer, while others would focus on concepts that they needed additional help with. This is also the time that my co-teacher would come into class, which was a life saver. You can read more about this on my math intervention schedule post.
You can read more about planning for and implementing stations here.
Clean Up/Close 5 minutes
By this time we are all wiped! It was time to wrap up, clean up, put away supplies, and get everything back in order.
One Hundred minute classes never failed to wear me out, but the extra time was a gift! Especially when I think about the whirlwind of a 45 minute class.
Who else has 100 minutes for math? How do you structure a 100 minute class? I would love to hear how you break it down!