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January 16, 2014

A Day Our Way

Amelia over at Where the Wild Things Learn is hosting a linky party about our daily schedules.  Since things have changed a bit since the beginning of the year, I wanted to link up and share a little more about what's new with my class.  

I have to say that this year I love our schedule.  Above isn't everything that we tackle, but it's the main gist of it all.  Mondays we have a slightly different schedule since it's a shorter day for us - Staff meetings are after school, and the kids leave at 1:30.  Okay, get ready for a lot of writing.  :)  

8:20 - 8:35 Morning Work
I know I talk about my morning work a lot… In past years I always passed out a spiral review on Monday mornings and the kids worked on it Monday through Friday.  This year my copy budget changed though, and that weekly expense was something I had to cut.  Instead I opted to try out adding a Morning Math meeting to my schedule.  The kids come in, drop off their homework on their desks, and head directly over to the carpet to work on the problems of the day.  There is always a multi-digit multiplication problem and a long division problem to solve.  Then I switch out the other skills.  At the beginning of the year it was a lot of place value, then rounding… these days it's been factoring, fractions, and decimals.  In my chart for tomorrow it has a review of median and mode.  As the kids are working through the problems (which take about 10 minutes), I'm able to quickly look over their homework, see who is missing something, take attendance, and then get over to go over the morning work problems with them full class.

8:35 - 8:45 HOMEWORK
After morning work the kids head to their desks and we go over the homework altogether.  Usually every night they have a math worksheet to complete (part of the curriculum) and a spelling activity.  They also have to read and practice math facts.  Their reading logs are due on Friday.  At least once a week they have some type of comprehension, another night is grammar practice, and then I throw in Science and Social Studies for them to work on at home too.  After we go through it, they turn it into my in box, and we move onto Grammar.

I use Jivey's Mentor Sentences (first year), and I absolutely love them!  On Mondays we read the story get the sentence in our notebooks.  Then on Tuesday and Wednesday we go through the other parts.  I have seen such growth in my students.  This usually takes about 15 minutes.  Depending on the day, my class works on their weekly writing assignment or on one of our grammar sheets as part of our curriculum.  This is the time of day that all the kids are there at the same time, so I try to maximize the time.

9:00 - 9:15 WRITING
Each week I give my students a writing assignment based on the time of year.  Most of the assignments lately go with seasonal activities…  for example the past 2 weeks my students have worked on essays involving their Home Resolutions, and their School Resolutions.  Next week they will be writing about their Dreams for the World (tied into Martin).  It's a mixture of holidays, seasons, units in Reading, Social Studies, and Science.  We brainstorm on Monday altogether, and then they work on it throughout the week.  Brainstorm, Roughdraft, Rainbow Edit, Peer Edit, and then Final Draft.  Every single week.  How it changes throughout the year are the expectations that I put upon them.  First trimester they must write a complete paragraph, and that transitions to two paragraphs 2nd trimester, and three for 3rd trimester.  Throughout the year, students must also show improvement on their conventions - making sure to add indents, more detail, more examples, punctuation, cursive, etc.  These writing lessons are worked on in the morning (before PE), or at the end of the day during Daily 5 Rotations.

9:15 - 9:45 PE Prep

9:45 - 9:55 Fill a bucket, STAR of the week sharing, Birthday Party, etc

9:55 - 10:10 Recess

10:10 - 11:10 MATH 
After PE and Recess comes our Math Lesson (Monday through Thursday - Fridays are test days).  On Mondays we form new math color groups, and the students use those colors the rest of the week.  We use brain pop when we can to make it come alive to them.  I use the spelling of MATH for my stations - Math facts, At your seat, Teacher time, and Hands On.

*Math facts - Depending on the day, students could work on flashcards, rowley sheets, roll and cover games, multiplication mats, etc.

*At your seat - Spiral review (in sheet protectors), Problem Solving, Skill review (more practice), technology (ixl skills)

*Teacher Time - Lesson of the day in small groups, on the carpet, with their whiteboard or their workbook.

*Hands On - task cards, dice games, etc - either something we are working on presently or something as a review.

11:10 - 12:10 READING
My district uses Open Court, so we mainly follow that.  On Mondays we work on vocabulary and making connections to the story.  Tuesday is reading the story and creating a story map.  Wednesday is rereading with a partner to work on fluency (Read to Others/Listen to Reading) and writing a summary.  Thursday is working on skills of the week (determined by the curriculum).  Friday is a test day.  Students also must complete Reading Responses to the story.  Every week they complete a summary to help with comprehension, but I also switch it out with Response to Literature and Opinion for the other writing during our Reading Lesson.

12:50 - 1:30 READ ALOUD and SILENT READING (Read to Self)
I love this time of the day.  The kids come in from lunch, they find their favorite place to sit, and we settle down with a book together.  We just finished Stone Fox yesterday, so tomorrow we will be starting The Mixed Up Tales of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I take turns going back and forth between reading the book out loud, having the students read it together, and listening to it on an Audible MP3.  The Audible ones are so much fun to listen to - I have the versions of the authors reading themselves, so they almost always add in more sound effects.  Every day after read aloud, the kids pull out their chapter summaries, and they brainstorm the key events in each chapter.  Those key events later help them as they write their main reading response when we finish the book.

For silent reading, the kids work at their own spot again, make good decisions, and get engrossed in their books.  When time is up, they head back to their desks and write about their books in their journals every single day.  I have comprehension questions they have to respond to to get them thinking about their books.

1:30 - 2:00 DAILY 5
I don't use a normal Daily 5 in my classroom.  I love giving them choices, and I love how engaged they are in their work.  During this time of the day 10 of my students leave for an ELL pull out, which totally stinks.  My own opinion, even though I know they are getting the help they need at their own levels for spelling and grammar.  During this time I have 4 options on the board for Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading.  Students have 2 days to complete all 4 tasks (Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 15 minutes each rotation).

Typical Daily 5:
*Work on Writing - work on the main writing weekly assignment, and when done have Whole Class Writing Journals options.

*Word Work - A vocabulary option and a spelling option

*Listen to Reading/Technology - MP3 players, IPAD, and Computers

I flip back and forth between the two, usually flipping between chapters and units.  At present we are finishing up our Natural Disasters unit (Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Landslides).  During our Science and Social Studies lessons I try to tie it into a Brainpop video, or some other kind of Authentic Resource.  We spend this time going between the textbooks, doing partner comprehension, whole class activities, etc.

So, what does your schedule look like?  How is it different than mine?  How much prep time do you have a day?  Do you use rotations too?  Please share!

Hope you had a good day!  


  1. I'm super curious... Do you not have other activities besides PE? We have 5 different activities and a 55 minute prep! I don't know how you do it with only a 30 minute prep! You must be superwoman!

    Keep Calm and Hoot On

  2. Rissa - Our music is an optional pull out program. The kids sign up at the beginning of the year, and to be able to attend they have to maintain great grades. It's during reading time. I have 3 kids that leave on Mondays and Wednesdays to attend. I have an art mom that comes in 2x a month for an hour (art docent). She does special lessons with the kids. We go to library & computer lab (together) every other week for an hour. A 55 minute prep? Wow! I wish!! I work through lunch and recess most days… unless I have yard duty (which is every other week).

  3. WOW! What a jam packed and interesting day! I loved seeing what you spend your day going :) I LOVE how you progress through writing throughout the year. I definitely am writing that idea down for next year! Thanks for linking up!! :)



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