Monday, April 13, 2015

A Day in the Life...

Hi, friends!  Today I am linking up with my friend Reagan, from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for her "A Day in the Life" linky!  Hopefully this will give you an idea of a typical day in my first grade classroom!  I hope this helps new teachers and gives veterans some new ideas!  I tried to hyper-link lots of things, so be sure to click on each one to check out more information and freebies!

When the weather is nice, I get up at 5:00 am and head to the gym before school.  During the winter months, I work out after school.  I typically arrive to school right before it starts.  Like sometimes I walk in with 2 minutes to spare!  This is so opposite of what I used to do; I was ALWAYS the first one in and one of the last to stay!  Now,  I stay later after school to get everything set up and laid out. I try not to leave much past 4:30 most days.  I have a big counter that I lay the day's activities on.  I also have specials right away after my kids arrive, so I can use that 30 minute time period to finish up anything that I need for the upcoming day.  It's awesome!!

**Throughout the day, we do take a lot of Brain Breaks!  We LOVE GONOODLE!!!**

8:00 Students arrive
They unpack, turn in their homework, and grab a morning work {Love Kelley's morning work} to get started on.  As they are starting, I'm chatting with my teammates in the doorway floating around checking their assignment sheets, taking attendance and lunch count, and helping them get situated for the day.

8:20-8:50 Specials
We have 30 minutes of specials each day.  We only have gym and music.  We do have library but teachers have to be in the library with the librarian b/c she is considered classified staff.  So technically I only get 4 days of planning periods.  During said planning periods, I am flying around like a maniac laminating, checking homework in, reading notes, eating my breakfast, and whatever else!

8:50-9:20 Drinks & Review Morning Work
I always, always, always go over the morning work with my kids and they MUST have it out and be following along.  This ensures that they did it correctly and it also allows me to use parts of it as teaching points.  To keep kids engaged, I'll ask student volunteers to come up to the white board and "be the teacher."

****9:20-9:50 Monday/Wednesday****
On these days we get to go to the computer lab!  I only have 3 student computers in my classroom and no laptops, tablets, or ipods.  I really value the lab time because I believe it's so important to expose kids to technology in whatever way possible!  We do RAZ Kids or Reading A to Z.  They are both awesome!  My kids are pretty independent in lab by this point in the year.  During this time I pull kids for assessments or run a guided reading group with a group of struggling readers.  The guided reading is more valuable for those little kiddos than the computer programs

9:20-10:00 Writing Workshop
It's my most favorite time of the day!  We use my Writing Workshop Bundle every day.  I begin writing workshop with a mini-lesson, where I'll either introduce a new skill or review a previously taught skill.  The mini-lesson lasts about 5-7 minutes.  I always actively engage students by having them come up and help me write/stretch words and/or turn and talk to a partner.  After the mini-lesson, the students head back to work on their own stories. During this time, I expect the room to be very quiet and the kids know it {lots of training at the b.o.y.!!!}....only chatter about our writing!  I pull a small group to my table to conference with them. After about 25 minutes of  independent writing time, I'll select a few students to share.  I keep a checklist and mark every time a child shares so I can keep it even and ensure everyone is getting to share.  To see all of my posts about Writing Workshop, click HERE.

10:00-10:30 Whole-Group Phonics
This is where I introduce new word chunks or word families.  I have a very detailed post about how this looks HERE.  Basically in a nut shell, I do some direct instruction to introduce the word pattern and throughout the week we play games, read a poem that has the word pattern in it, and do activities that have the students constantly reviewing/practicing the words.  On Friday, we take a Spelling test over the word pattern we've just studied.  I have 10 words for most students and a few students who do not take a Spelling test.

10:30-11:00 Whole Group Reading
This time of day is when I teach those Common Core Standards for Reading!  I do not use a basal or Reading series.  I invent my own curriculum using children's literature and supplement with activities that hit the standards.  I like to use my differentiated graphic organizers as one supplemental product. Sometimes we'll do close reading with passages from my friend Lyndsey, at A Year of Many Firsts. I try to vary between fiction and non-fiction books each week.

11:00-11:25 Centers/Dessert Tubs & Guided Reading
My kids visit one center per day.  I have a detailed post about centers HERE.  This keeps the chaos organized and the noise level down.  As they complete centers, they go to their dessert tubs.  I run one guided reading group during center time.  More about guided reading HERE.

11:25-11:45 Grammar/Language
We work on language skills during this time.  This is when we do my sentence fix it ups or just learn about new language skills like parts of speech and all the other goodies that the Common Core Standards require!  We play games, watch Brain POP Jr, You Tube, etc....

11:45-12:45 Lunch, Recess, Junie B. Read-Aloud
The kids have a 20 minute lunch and a 20 minute recess.  I have either cafe or recess duty every day all year.  After recess, we calm down with a chapter from Junie B. Jones.  I've been reading Junie B since I student taught back in 2002!  Love her and all the books!

12:45-1:25 Math
Math this year is a little hairy because we are piloting "Go Math."  It's been kids are doing well but it's just so boring.  It's hard to find time to supplement with games and other activities because there are SO MANY UNITS!  I vow to slow down next year and use more of my Math activities.

1:25-1:50 Quiet Reading & Guided Reading
The kids have baggies in their desks with books they've selected for the week from my extensive classroom library.  They pull them out and read quietly to themselves or with friends.  During this time, I am running another guided reading group.

1:50 Prep for Dismissal

2:00 Dismissal

After the kids leave, I have my own little routine that I do.  Click HERE to see it!  **I plan with my team on Tuesdays.

That's it!  Hope you found some new ideas.  What questions do you have?  Feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email at  I love helping!



Reagan Tunstall said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love you friend!!! Thanks for linking up! Your day looks full and fabulous! That specials first is sooo awesome!

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

Thank you!

Allie @ The Gypsy Teacher said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is AWESOME! I'm a first year and first grade teacher teaching in Tanzania, Africa, so to say this year has been a learning experience is a huge understatement! Hopefully I'll be teaching first again next year, and have this post pinned to come back to! Thanks for linking everything! I really appreciate it!


Mrs. Cher Harrison said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you so much! This will definitely help me plan for next year.

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