Teacher Week with Blog Hoppin' ~ When?

I love Teacher Week at Blog Hoppin'!  It is so fun getting a peek into everyone's classrooms... honestly though, I think today's topic is my favorite one.

I LOVE reading about how other  teachers run their day.  It always makes me appreciate what I have, wish for what I don't have, and maybe get a new idea on how to structure part of my day.

My schedule this year is exactly the same as last year - which pretty much NEVER happens, but it definitely made for one less thing to have to worry about!  Our day runs from 8:35  3:05.  Teachers are contracted to be there 15 minutes before the day starts and 30 minutes at the end (I think that's what it is... I'm there way before and after that so I've never really worried about it!)  Here's my day:

(The adorable graphics are from Educlips - I KNOW, I just had to have them, too!)

I'll go through each part of the day to give you an idea of what happens during that time.  (I have to warn you though - not many pictures coming up.  I am still not back at school and don't have any pictures... and I don't know why the images are all different sizes.. just pretend you don't notice, ok?)

 Our students don't all come at the same time, and some of the buses don't come until right before we start our morning meeting.  For that reason, I do not do morning work.  Too many kids were either not getting to finish it (or start it) because their bus was later, or they were having breakfast, so it was just easier to use the time for something else.  After students have signed in on the morning message put things away and shopped for books (if it is their day), they can choose from 3 or 4 activities to do to start the morning - puzzles, partner games, quiet reading... I really like to have this part of the day be a time I can talk with the kids, settle in and start the day on a positive note.

We do a morning meeting EVERY day - greeting, sharing,morning message, calendar/math and a group activity.  This quickly becomes a favorite part of the day.  I find out so much about my kiddos during this time - what they like, don't like, what they do at home, how their day started, etc.  Our morning meeting sets the tone for the day and makes sure everyone feels welcome.

Next we move into our whole class reading block.  This can look different each day, but usually starts with a fluency activity, then a focus on a reading skill or strategy (close reading, mini lesson, etc.), then usually a partner/small group activity and then back to whole group to finish up.  We do have a reading series, but we have really moved away from using it as the main part of our reading instruction.  Instead, each grade level has developed really strong focus units based on common core skills - using the books and stories we currently have.  We are working to fill in the gaps with needed materials each year.

At the end of our reading time is a block we call FIT" time - Focused Intervention Time.  (This is our RTI time.)  Our grade level meets together at the beginning of a FIT cycle and looks at the needs of all our students.  We place the students who need a Tier 2 or 3 in a reading area (fluency, a phonics skill, a comprehension skill, etc.) in a group first.  We are lucky to have two interns, our resource room specialist and one or two IA's who can take groups during this time.  (Our students who receive Title reading support also go at this time.)  Then we divide the rest of the students between or classes (4 this year) and run small groups, using the Daily 5 as our model.  This way, EVERY student gets whole group (reading time) and small group (FIT time) reading instruction that meets their needs.

My spelling time is actually divided into two times - before and after specials.  I used to hate it, but now I like it.  I can either do a mini lesson for the first part, then have them work on a practice activity (small group, partner, etc) when they get back from specials, or we rotate through centers.  We have developed our own way of doing spelling - and this year I am excited to use these two units:

I think they're going to really add more structure and ideas to our spelling curriculum.

Our "specials" are art, music, technology, library and PE.  This is considered our "planning time" in our contract.  It's usually filled with meetings, phone calls, emails and such.

20 minutes duty free lunch - but by the time you drop the kids off, get our lunch, settle down, go to the bathroom and go to pick them up, it's more like 5 minutes!

I love teaching writing.  Our writing program right now is a collection of ideas from Empowering Writers, Lucy Calkins and units from TpT.  We start at the beginning of the year reviewing and writing all 3 main genres (narrative, opinion and expository), then we use what we're reading about/studying to drive what we write about through the year.  Our science is incorporated throughout the year, so we do a lot of expository writing with that.

After writing we always do a brain break or two.  (I do them throughout the day, but this one is really important.)  We have a long afternoon (we chose not to have recess until later) and although it really works, my kiddos need breaks after a while.  GoNoodle is definitely our best friend!

We use EnVisions math as the basis for our math instruction.  It's ok, but we definitely add to it with games and activities.  I start math with a warm-up, then a focus lesson, then partner/small group practice, maybe an activity sheet and then we meet together to wrap up.

We have our snack after math.  A lot of times it's a kind of staggered snack, with my kiddos eating as the finish what they were doing for math.  

Math FIT runs the same way our reading intervention does.  Students are either in tiered intervention groups, or doing math centers.  We choose the math center activities based on what our students need, so it's like extra practice for everyone.

Yes, recess is at the very end of they day.  We chose to do it this way, though.  With brain breaks throughout the day, it doesn't seem so long and by the time 2:30 comes around it means the day is pretty much over!  We have recess duty 2 - 3 times each week.  Teachers rotate so there are always 2 certified staff outside, along with any IAs who are with students.  I actually like recess duty - it gives me a chance to be outside and refresh!

Once we come in from recess, it's time to "stack and pack" and head to closing circle.  I just started this last year and it has really helped us end the day on a calm and settled note.  We do a quick "how was the day" activity, do a goodbye and look forward to tomorrow.  Buses get called a few at a time, so students who are waiting to leave usually talk with friends, help me clean up the room (love those helpers!) or work on a puzzle or quick game.

That's it!  The thing I really like about our schedule is that we have extended times to be able to work without interruption, and we have those 2 intervention times which work for EVERY child.  The afternoon can be long, especially at the beginning of the year, but everyone adjusts quickly.

Make sure you check out other classroom schedules - visit Blog Hoppin' to see more!

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