We have a new schedule this year...for a number of reasons.
We've gone from 7 periods to 6, mainly because The State says that we can no longer have a reading teacher and an ELA teacher, but one person doing both. So, we also went from 5 people on a team to 4. The good news is that it means we have classes that are nearly an hour long. We have been 47 minutes long for the past five years (and our test scores sucked compared to when we had hour long classes but admin apparently didn't see the connection...)
And then we solved the nightmare that is lunch, mainly trying to feed over 300 kids in 30 minutes. And if you're a seventh grader this year, 373 kids in 30 minutes.
Basically, starting with sixth grade, each team goes in 15 minute intervals. Now, this does mean that we interrupt my fourth period, but let me tell you, there is a world of difference when there are only, say, 100 kids walking to lunch as opposed to 300 kids. In some cases, my class, depending on the timing, may be the only class moving to or from lunch and they are in line and silent. No jumping up and smacking the ceiling, no yelling, no out of line, they are doing it right. And the only thing I can figure is because there's only 25 of them at the moment, and no distractions from other classes.
It's been amazing. Lunch is quiet, everyone gets fed, it is wonderful.
However. It also means that every grade level is on a slightly different schedule and we have 28 different bells that ring all day long.
All. Day. Long.
I have our schedule printed in huge font hanging behind my desk because even I have trouble remembering what time we do what. So when a bell goes off, and the kids look at me, I end up saying, "Not us," and moving on. I also had to put a timer on my iPad to remind me when I had only 5 minutes left (and to remind me to take the kids to lunch.) Even then, it's a bit wonky and I'm hoping pretty soon we start ignoring the bells that aren't ours.
If they could only do a different tone for the different grade levels, it would be so much easier.
P.S. Someone asked the question about couldn't teachers get the kids to lunch without bells? Well, interestingly enough the only time a bell doesn't go off is for the different lunch periods. The bells are going off for class changes between periods, and then tardy bells. So, for example, a bell will go off for the sixth grade to end 1st and go to 2nd period; then four minutes later a 2nd period bell will go off for 6th grade. Then an 8th grade bell will go off, etc. Due to these funky lunches, the class periods do not line up equally at the same time for each grade.
I know, we don't get it either.