One question that I get asked more often than any other question is, “What is your daily schedule?” Of course, every teacher’s schedule will look a little different depending on start and end times, recess and lunch schedules, and plan times, but I’m guessing that most of us have at least some things in common with our daily schedules.
Our schedules are made for us by our schools, so we do not have a say in when we teach particular subjects. I actually don’t mind our schedule though, and it’s pretty much how I would make it if I had the opportunity. The only thing I would change if I could, would be to have a later lunch, only because once lunch and recess is over, it is much harder to keep 1st graders focused.
What does my schedule look like?
What do we do during the day?
8:00 – 8:30 – Morning Work/Tubs – Our students can start coming into the room at 8:00, but the tardy bell does not ring until 8:15. After they get their things put away for the day, they complete their quick Morning Work review, then they head to their Morning Tub. (Read more about Morning Tubs here.) I ring the bell at 8:30 to clean up. We go over our Morning Work together. Then, my students head over to the carpet for Morning Meeting and Calendar.
8:30 – 9:00 – Morning Meeting/Calendar – We start by singing our welcome song. Then, I have the students share a very quick tidbit about their night if they have anything they want to tell us. Afterwards, our calendar person of the week changes everything on the calendar. We say the date, count our days with money, count using the number grid, come up with number sentences, etc. I write a Morning Message on our easel with mistakes that my students need to correct. Afterwards, I read our Discussion Question of the Day. I give each of the students an opportunity to share their ideas. Finally, I read a picture book to the class. This picture book read aloud is for pure enjoyment.
9:00 – 9:30 – I/E – This is our Intervention and Enrichment time for reading. Being in a non-Title school, we do not have very many extra hands. We really only have one other teacher that takes a small group of kids (2 kids from each of our five 1st grade classrooms), so our I/E groups are basically a normal class size 🙁 I work on fluency and comprehension with my kids during this time.
9:30 – 11:10 – Reading Block – We try to squeeze in a restroom break prior to our reading block. I start off with whole group reading instruction. We do use a basal reading series. I know, I know…many people are very anti-basal. But, it is what it is, so I make the most of it. I actually don’t mind it at all as a guide for instruction. I follow along with the scope and sequence for phonics, grammar, and comprehension skills. However, I definitely supplement and add my own flair to it. After our whole group instruction, we move onto writing.
I do not use the writing instruction from our basal series. I just have never liked it. I teach writing using mini-lessons. (Read more about my writing mini-lessons here.) This way the instruction is explicit and short. Then, my students have a longer time period to actually spend writing.
Next, we do small group reading instruction. I would LOVE nothing more than to meet with more small groups during this time, but I just haven’t found a way to make it happen. Trying to squeeze phonics, grammar, whole group reading, small group reading, and writing all in this time period makes it very difficult.
11:10-11:50 – Lunch/Recess – I know that I said above that if I could adjust our schedule, the only thing that I would change would be to push back our lunch. Actually, another thing I would change would be for our students to have a longer lunch and recess. I just feel like they are so rushed during this time. We have a duty free lunch, but we have recess duty during this time once a week.
11:50-12:05 – Journal Writing – This is kind of an odd period of time before we go to our special area classes. I used to do a read aloud, but it always got cut short. Last year, I started having them free write in their journals during this time, and I like it much better.
12:10-12:50 – Art, Music, PE, Computer Lab, or Library – This is our plan time 4 days a week. We take our students to the computer lab and stay with them on whichever day that is scheduled.
12:50-1:05 – Chapter Book Read Aloud – I always read a chapter or two from our chapter book.
1:05-2:00 – Math – We use Everyday Math. If you’re familiar with this curriculum, you may love it or hate it. I definitely have mixed feelings about it. There are some great things about it, but there are definitely some things that I would love to change. We supplement a lot when working on math facts and trying to get our students to truly master some of the 1st grade math skills.
2:00-2:30 – Integrated Studies – I LOVE ending the day with science and/or social studies. The students love it, and I love teaching it. It’s a nice way to end our school day.
2:40 – Dismissal
So, that’s it. I always get asked how I fit everything in. The simple answer is, “I don’t.” I create so many different resources, but that doesn’t mean that I use them all every day or even every year. Some years, I find that my students need a lot more comprehension practice, so I will use more of my comprehension resources. Other years, we may need to put more focus on phonics skills. I’m also one that needs to change things up a little each year. I definitely keep many things the same because I know they work, and they are good instructional practices. However, I am also a big fan of trying new things.
So, what does your schedule look like? Any similarities? Any major differences? Any other questions you still have?
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