Timetable and Structures
At Canyon Falls Middle School we have a flexible, static, middle school timetable which looks different than a secondary school. This is based in research on adolescent development and middle schools, as well as what many years of experience tells us is best for young adolescent learners. The picture above is an example of one of the six community timetables.
Student Cohorting and Continuity Over Time
Learners will be grouped in six communities made up of combined grade 6-8 students evenly mixed between our feeder schools and accepted applicants; this will allow for cross grade community building throughout our school, providing for deep learner relationships to form across ages, opportunities for older learners to be leaders, and connecting learners together based in interests, passions, and learning rather than based on age. Learners will continue in their communities from year to year providing continuity, stability, and deep relationships with teachers, which is good for learners and their parents/guardians. At Canyon Falls, we will know each learner deeply, both as a learner and as a person, enabling us to tap into their passions to design challenging learning, enriching their experience.
Our timetable does not rotate with different blocks, as a secondary school timetable does. Our day runs from 9:01am to 3:15pm. Each day will begin with Advisory in learning communities, an important relationship building structure where we will check in with students, purposefully build strong relationships between teachers and learners, and between learners themselves. Physical and Health Education classes are scheduled each week in non-rotating blocks. The remainder of the time (in beige) will be designed based on what students need and when, rather than on bells or standard block lengths; to have student learning at the center of our school organization will provide the flexibility to create rich, immersive learning experiences not limited by the ringing of bells telling us when to stop learning. Teachers will create responsive daily/weekly/monthly schedules based on what learners need, in collaboration with the learners themselves. Each year, core classroom teachers will be responsible to help each learner master their grade curricular outcomes in Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Careers.
Each learner at Canyon Falls will take part throughout every year in the following exploratory/specialty classes in 6-7 week immersive, collaborative learning experiences designed with core classroom teachers and exploratory/specialty teachers:
- Technology Education
- Music (Band will be an elective run outside the timetable/during Enrichment)
Our goal as a middle school is to have learners explore these various areas so they have a thorough understanding about their passions for when they transition to OKM in grade 9.
Our Enrichment structure is a broad-reaching elective structure that will provide learners with opportunities to connect with their passions, alongside teachers who share those passions, and the greater community. There will be three Enrichment rotations of approximately 10 weeks (roughly matching the reporting terms, providing some turnaround time for selection and placement). Each teacher in the school (and perhaps the administration as well) will offer locally-developed courses, examples of which could be Hockey, yoga, specialized cooking, language courses, craft courses, entrepreneur courses, community service opportunities, training (ie. babysitting course), and anything that is approved through Board policy. We are hoping to connect with parents/guardians and the greater community to truly enrich our learners' experiences with this structure.
Lunch and Break
We will be encouraging learners to "be younger longer" and be active and play. Research is clear on the links between physical activity, play, and connection with peers. During breaks, learners will be encouraged to connect with friends and play. During lunch, we encourage learners to again, be active and have fun; learners have the freedom on where they wish to eat (inside or outside), sport equipment will be available for use outdoors, our gymnasium will be supervised and open for students to play. Learning community areas will be available with microwaves for food preparation. There is no designated play and eating time. Learners will have 45 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 55 minutes on Wednesday to decide how long they wish to eat and how long they wish to connect and/or play with their peers.