Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Daily Schedule 2019-2020

**UPDATE***  This blog post was created a few weeks ago and set to be posted yesterday (March 23).  I debated posting it but decided to publish it today.  I hope it gives you some ideas for when we return to school.  Thinking of all of you at home and praying this is over soon.

Hello and happy Monday!  I hope many of you are on (or close to being on) Spring Break.  My break is 18 days away.  Not that I'm counting AT ALL.  Not that we have a countdown that we update every day in our kitchen.  Both of us are very excited, to say the least!

Today's post is all about my daily schedule.  I did a post about this a few years back, but times (and curriculum) have changed.  I had someone message me on Instagram a couple weeks ago asking for me to post my schedule, so here it is.  Prior to starting my post, I want to lay it all out there.  I use a boxed curriculum for the following areas:
  • Social-Emotional Learning (PATHS PROGRAM)
  • Reading/Language Arts (Wit and Wisdom)
  • Phonics (Wilson Fundations: Level 1)
  • Math (Go Math; changing soon...program is being discontinued)
However, now that I am comfortable with all of those programs (most I have been using for 3 years now), I am able to supplement a bit with things I've created or purchased off of Teachers Pay Teachers.  Time is limited, however, so I don't have the flexibility to supplement a whole lot.  When I do supplement, I make sure the stuff I'm using is good quality and highly engaging.

My day is short.  Students arrive at 8:00.  They leave at 2:00.  Next year, our school will be adding 30 minutes to our day.  I'm looking forward to having a bit more time to work with, as the demands for teaching are so high now.

On with the daily schedule!  I will break it down by subjects and times and show a few ideas of the types of things I do for each subject.  I keep a daily schedule posted at the front of the room.  The kids love knowing "what's next."  You can grab my Daily Schedule Cards in my TpT store.


  • Students arrive, empty take-home folders, begin morning work.  I use Kelley Dolling's (Teacher Idea Factory) "Good Morning Work" and have for many years now.  I love how she spirals the skills that have already been taught.  She has both Math and ELA.  I mostly use the Math, but do throw in some ELA every now and then.  It's great that my kids are practicing addition/subtraction all day, all year.  What I also like about morning work is that it gives my kids something structured to work on as soon as they arrive each day.  There are no surprises; they are working on the same format of paper each morning.  I keep the morning work in a bin at the front of the room and the kids get their own paper as they arrive.  I think back to the days when I would pass one out on everyone's desk each night before leaving work.  GAH!  What a waste of time!  As kids finish, they raise their hands and I quickly grade the paper with a star or mark errors for them to correct.  Immediate feedback is so important; I require the kids to fix any reversed numbers or letters as well as correct any mistakes before getting their star and putting the paper in their mailbox.  About once a week, I collect the morning work in my turn-in basket and take a grade on one of the sections that matches our report card.  Typically it's addition/subtraction, related facts, counting, etc...

SPECIALS 8:20-8:50

  • We have just 20 minutes between the time kids arrive and the time we go to specials.  It certainly isn't ideal, but I've been doing it for at least 5 years now.  One positive is that if I don't have every last thing ready for the day, I can count on my break to get last minute tasks accomplished.  It's also a great time to check in homework.  We have Music 2x a week and Gym 2x a week.  We have Library 1x a week on Friday.  We are required to stay with our kids during Library time because the position of librarian is a classified position.  So technically I have 4, 30 minute breaks per week.  


  • Every day, immediately after specials, we meet for Morning Meeting.  I've written a few posts about the importance of the meeting in the past.  You can click HERE to check those posts out.  In a nutshell, we begin with a greeting, move on to reading the message, then play a game or read a story, and occasionally share.  Sharing is a big part of Morning Meeting, and I do it more at the start of the year.  As the year goes on, time is limited so I have to be selective (and realistic) about this.  I'd love to have a full hour to devote to Morning Meeting but I don't.  However, we always share on Friday's and Monday's.  
  • 2 days a week until we are through the program, I teach a Paths lesson.  Paths is a wonderful social-emotional learning program that we began implementing last year.  It helps students with impulse control, problem solving, working memory, reasoning, and planning.  Our school has seen a HUGE decrease in behavior problems since implementing this program.  I've found that I can actually teach now, with minimal interruptions due to behavior!  I highly recommend it!  


  • This is one of the most important parts of the day!  I began incorporating these into my day this year.  In the past, I did Go Noodle breaks, but I found that they got kids too wild.  A "wiggle break" is a 5 minute (or less) break where kids can just chill.  Prior to starting this, I talked with my kids about what type of things they can do during their wiggle breaks.  We made a T-chart organizer together on the board of things we can do and things we can't do.  Some popular choices for wiggle break are as follows:  dancing, talking with friends, playing "school" or "house" or anything else that encourages imagination, drawing, writing, playing with stress balls (lol!), reading, and resting with head down.  The kids know that the wiggle break is also a time for me to collect my thoughts, and they are to "entertain themselves" during these little breaks.  I set a timer for these breaks, and once it beeps, the kids are to go back to their seats and sit quietly, in hopes of earning a table point!  


  • Centers is probably my kids' favorite part of the day!  For 20 minutes, they get to be independent and work/have fun with their friends.  Most of our day is whole-group, with our boxed curriculum programs, so I really feel it's important to keep centers a staple in my classroom.  As I mentioned above, we use Wilson Fundations for Phonics.  I try to keep my centers aligned to that, and spiral review what I've taught in previous units.  Using material from the chapter taught previously ensures that my kids can be just about 100 percent independent.  During centers, I do take 1 small group (my most struggling readers) and work with them.  However, I did not begin this until around Christmas time.  Prior to that, I was floating around and helping kids stay on task.  It's important to get the systems securely in place before leaving the kids independent.  I have 5 centers.  1 is the listening center, where kids listen to a story on tape/cd and complete a "favorite part" recording sheet after.  1 is the sentence scramble where the kids put sentences in order and write them when finished.  The other 3 are matching activities, board games, stamping activities, play-doh activities, etc.   Here are a few of the activities you'll typically see my kids doing during centers.  If you're interested in my Wilson Fundations centers, you can click the cover below.  They would be great for any first grade, regardless of whether you teach Fundations or not.  If you're looking for Math centers as well, you can check out my 1st Grade Center Bundle.  It's more thematic (holidays) and has both Literacy and Math centers included.  *All centers, both Wilson Fundations and my 1st Grade Centers are available for individual purchase in my TpT store, as well.  However, the bundles will save you $$$$.  You can also click HERE to see some other ideas for centers.  I use a lot of my other Phonics activities in my TpT store for centers throughout the year.  Just search "Phonics" in my store to check them out (magnetic letters, rhyming, blends, cvc activities to name a few).  

Please Note: *This file is an independent product and is not affiliated with, nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Wilson Language Training Corporation. Wilson®, Wilson Reading System®, Fundations®, Just Words®, and Wilson Fluency® are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the Wilson Language Training Corporation.


  • We use a curriculum by Great Minds, called Wit and Wisdom.  It's a knowledge-building curriculum that uses picture books.  It has 4 units, or "modules" that are taught throughout the year (1 per quarter).  Each module focuses on a theme.  The program includes language, vocabulary, reading, and writing.  I supplement some but for the most part, I follow the curriculum as is.  So, there isn't much to report here in terms of what else I do.


  • We use Wilson Fundations Level 1 Phonics.  Our kindergarten-second grade uses Fundations daily and our third grade uses it for intervention.  Fundations is a fantastic Phonics program and I am so happy we have a systematic program in place.  I try to stick with the program for Phonics, so I don't have much to share here about what I do.  However, I will occasionally supplement with my Phonics resources.  

  • We meet at the carpet after recess each day to read aloud a chapter of Junie B. Jones.  The kids absolutely love this time of day.  I've done this every day for 16 years!  I think I have every Junie B. Jones book memorized.  Hahaha!  I've linked the first grade boxed set of Junie B. Jones books for you below.  #affiliatelink 


  • We do Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program each day for about 10 minutes.  I love explicitly teaching and practicing phonemic awareness.   I've noticed a huge increase in reading improvement since I started using this 3 years ago.  


  • For my entire, 16 year teaching career, I have given my kids 20-30 minutes of daily, uninterrupted time to enjoy books and reading.  I have my classroom library sorted by theme.  Each child gets a gallon Ziploc bag with their name on it and every Thursday, they "shop" for books.  They are allowed to keep 6 books in their bags each week.  On Thursday's, they can keep some or all of the books the chosen the prior week, or they can select all new books.  During this time, I do pull very quick groups where the kids practice their decodable books.  We use Geodes, which were created by Wilson (creators of Fundations) and Great Minds (creators of Wit and Wisdom).   We do not do Guided Reading anymore, and haven't for 2 years now.  We have found decodables to be much more meaningful and effective. 



  • We use Go Math for our Math instruction.  However, I do supplement with my own Math Resources and resources of others when I have time or I feel the lesson is too dry.  


That's a wrap!  If you have any questions about our day or any of the resources/photos you saw in this post, feel free to email me and ask at meganwheeler44@yahoo.com

Stay Healthy,
Mrs. Wheeler