Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Daily Schedule: The MORNING

I've been asked by several people lately what my daily schedule looks like so I thought I'd dedicate two posts to it!  Beware: this is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and brace yourself for some reading!  Today I'm sharing how my morning goes.  I'll start by saying that my day begins at 8:00 and is ends at 2:00.  The day is short, and I do have to prioritize and keep a tight schedule.  Most of my morning subjects are broken into 30-35 minute blocks.

So every day, the kids come in, get unpacked, take out their data binders for me to check their weekly assignment sheet.  As I'm floating around checking, they are turning in their homework and getting started on their morning work.  For two years now, I've been using Kelley's {Teacher Idea Factory} Good Morning Work.  I love how each day for several days, the pages follow the same format.  I only have to explain the new skills on the first day.  I don't start this right away...so we are currently working out of the August/September packs.  I rotate back and forth between a week of Math morning work and a week of Reading morning work.  The skills she's included are very appropriate for the time of year and are excellent spiral review as the year progresses.


At 8:20, my kids rush off to specials for 30 minutes.  It's pretty insane getting them unpacked and out the door in 20 minutes those first few weeks of school, but now we've got it down pact!  I've had these early specials for a few years now and at first I didn't like it.  I've grown to love it because it allows me to have some wiggle room the night before.  For example, if I have to rush out for an appointment or something, I can count on my specials the next morning to get things ready for the day that I may not have had time for.  I'm also always in a constant rush in the mornings because I go to the gym before school, so I a lot of times will make my breakfast during my specials.

When the kids return from specials, we go over our morning work together on the projector.  Even if they finish early, they have to have their papers out and ready while we are going over the answers.  I invite kids to the board to write the answers with EXPO markers and that seems to hold everyone's attention!

After morning work, we move straight into Writing Workshop.  I like to do it first because the kids are usually ready to learn and very focused right after specials.  I begin with a mini-lesson {about 5-7 minutes}.  Then I allow the kids about 20 minutes of independent writing, where I have a small group at the table for conferencing.  At the end, I select 2-3 students to share what they worked on that day. Writing lasts about 30-35 minutes.

After Writing, we take some sort of a break.  Usually a Just Dance Kids or a silly game that I made
up.  Then, it's time for Phonics!  I typically focus on a few word families or word parts each week. We do activities to go along with them throughout the week.  This includes a poem, many read-alouds, games, and worksheets.  I gather resources from all over but one constant I use each week are my "Word Families" and "Chunking Words" packs.  This block lasts about 30 minutes.


Next up is Reading.  I do not use a Reading series.  I use picture books and develop activities around them to meet the standards.  I love having flexibility to create fun and meaningful lessons around picture books!  I use a lot of my graphic organizers with my read alouds.  Each lesson typically includes a read aloud or re-reading, a discussion/comprehension questions, a Brain Pop video clip, and a project or worksheet.  Last week, we did The Little Green Witch.  Click here to see how I used the book in class.  A few weeks ago we learned about characters and setting and did a fun ending project to go with it.  Click here to see that.  The reading block lasts about 30-35 minutes.  Reading is when I fit in holidays/Social Studies activities.

Now it's time for Literacy centers.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I make my literacy centers fun and engaging but also very appropriate for students to work on them independently.  It's a nice break for kids after a jam packed morning!  I have 6 centers.  4 are activity centers, 1 is the computer center, and 1 is the listening center.  I keep my centers organized on the chart shown below.  Kids visit ONE center per day.  Every day after school, I rotate the icon down on the pocket chart.  Every 6 days I switch out my centers.  I use a variety of materials and games for centers, but I mostly use things that I create myself.  Centers lasts for 20-25 minutes.  I float around and monitoring behaviors/assisting kids, etc.

A few months into the year, I do try to pull a guided reading group each day during this time.   I don't typically like running reading groups during this time, but with budget cuts and little to no help, I don't have a choice.  I've found it's pretty noisy {which is great-I want my kids having fun and interacting socially during centers!!}.  We make it work, however!

After centers, we move into Handwriting or Fix-it-Ups.  We do a page a day from a Handwriting book I found on TpT.  We also do the letter song by Have Fun Teaching to go with it.  We just started doing Fix-it-Ups.  These are great, daily sentence editing for kids.  We start out by finding the errors together.  Next I model writing the sentence correctly, and finally the kids re-write the sentence correctly and add an illustration to match.  They peer check one another's work.  This lasts about 20-25 minutes.

Now it's time for lunch prep!  So there you have it, our morning schedule.  If you are struggling with your schedule, just think about which areas are most important to you and which areas can be cut.  Do what is best for YOU and YOUR class.  You know what they need.  What questions do you have?  Please leave them below.  OR you can always email me at meganwheeler44@yahoo.com.  I love helping people and answering all of your emails!

Come back tomorrow for a peek at our afternoon!


Joanne Mitchell said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing the details of your morning. How do you handle the students that do not complete an activity or worksheet before moving to the next topic, such as moving to phonics? Do they take it home or is there time later in the day? My clas of Firsties are all over the range with skills and attention or lack of attention issues. Thanks again for any tips and ideas.

Lori Rosenberg said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great post! Looking forward to hearing all about your afternoon!

Amanda Miller said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

When do you meet with guided reading groups?

Amy B said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love everything about this post! You ROCK! Thanks for all of the fresh new ideas!

Nicole from Teaching With Style said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing your schedule! My school is also 8:00-2:00 and we have to cram so much in the morning! Can't wait to see how your afternoon is set up!

TeacherGal said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for sharing! What seller did you get the fix-it-ups from and do you find it hugely beneficial to your students writing?

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