A Look At My Day

Hey y'all!  It's Thursday and that means today's Teacher Week Topic is WHEN....



It's all about our schedules today!



I've taught for 13 years.  In those 13 years, I've taught at 4 different schools and in 3 different grades {K-3}.  Each year I feel like I have the "best schedule ever".  Really.  But I have to say, the schedule I've had the past two years just might take the cake.  Let's take a peek, shall we?!




Now let's break it down.





Our kids all meet in the cafeteria every morning.  That means no parent drop offs in the classroom.  Except for the first two days of school.  Every day after that, the kids get dropped off in the cafeteria for Morning Meeting.  This is where one teacher from each pod watches the kids and then around 8 am, our principals play fun and engaging music...typically Dr. Jean...and the kids dance.  Then we say the pledges, offer a moment of silence, and recognize and celebrate the kids who have a birthday.  This was started in an effort to decrease the amount of tardies and from what I've seen, it totally works!  I *rarely* have kids who are tardy to the party!




When the kids arrive in the classroom...most times before 8:20...they all come in as a group since they're coming from Morning Meeting.  We do a little "wake up work" when they come in.   This is typically hands-on.  Something to get the kids going.  We work on fine motor activities, out of the box thinking, and lots of other things.  




At this time, half of the class leaves for a specials class {science/social studies, library, computer, art}.  The other half stays for small group guided reading instruction and literacy tubs/stations.
So it works out to where I only have about 9-10 kids for an hour.  I get to meet with each one individually for guided reading while the rest of the kids work at their literacy stations/tubs.





At 9:30, the half of the class that left for specials comes back. Then the WHOLE class leaves for PE/Music and we have an hour for conference/planning.





At 10:30, we pick our kids up and bring them all back to the room.  Then the other half of my class who previously had guided reading instruction leaves for their specials class.  The half that was in specials earlier gets to stay for small group guided reading instruction & literacy tubs/stations.





Around 11:30, my half group comes back in and the whole class meets on the carpet for calendar concepts/morning message/daily dish.  



At 11:50 we go to lunch.  We walk the kids to the cafeteria and then we head out to shovel food down our throats as fast as we can :)  A "working lunch" if you will ;)



The kids get picked up at 12:20 and then we head back to the room for a quick brain break.  No time to be tired after eating :)  Around 12:30ish...give or take... we move right into Writer's Workshop.  Depending on the day, this lasts anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  A quick mini lesson and then independent writing.  I spend this time doing individual writing conferences as well.



Around 1:00 or a little thereafter, we start on Math.  Whole group and math tubs.  I'm really flexible with the timing here because some days lend themselves to a longer whole group lesson/longer tub time than others.  We spend between 15-30 minutes on a whole group lesson/game/activity and then the rest of the time is spent on working in math tubs.  I also do math conferences during this time.



We head outside for recess around 2:00 and let the kids play for about 30 minutes...give or take ;)  Because it's so hot here, the kids spend a good bit of time at the beginning of the year playing indoor for recess.  




When we're all back inside, we finish the day with "theme".  This typically involves a read aloud, thinking maps, research, writing, and craftivities...but not all on the same day, of course ;)    We end about 10ish minutes early to pass out agendas and end the day with a fun little read aloud or a quick "look at what we did today!!!".  Then it's backpacks and time for dismissal!




Dismissal happens around 3:30, but we have kids in our classroom until about 4:15-4:30.  That's usually when the last student leaves.  We keep all of our kids in the room until the parents and buses pick them up for the day.  The silver lining in that arrangement is that it gives us more time to pull kids for one-on-one intervention :)  We're not required to instruct during this time....there's usually a movie on to calm the masses...but it definitely gives us time to target the kids who need the extra help {if they're not one of the first kids to leave}.

Not too shabby!
That's what a day in my classroom looks like {in a nutshell}.

And just for my first grade friends, by request I created and uploaded a printable packet of back to school no prep math and literacy activities.  You can read all about it HERE or by clicking the pic below.




Have a GREAT day!

25 comments:

  1. You have a fascinating schedule and I have many questions! I am interested in knowing more of the logistics of your schedule - In the morning in the cafeteria how many kiddos are there? What grades are there in your building? Who else is there to support the principal? Do the kids eat breakfast at school? I love the idea of the 1/2 groups but - Who teaches science/social studies, library, computer, art? How do the kids get from your room to their specials room? Do they as Ks walk themselves? Does your 1/2 class all go to the same place? Or do they split up? Is there a schedule for which specials class they go to which day? What is your contractual scheduled day? What time do the kids need to be in by? I know that was a lot of questions but as I said your schedule is fascinating, and it seems wonderful!

    Thanks
    Michelle
    teachingeternity@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For morning meeting, the whole school is there. We have 18 kindergarten classes with about 19 kids in each class. Then there's an additional 4 Pre-K classes with about 15 kids in those rooms. This is a Pre-K/Kindergarten campus. Our principal, asst. principal, counselor, and teachers are there to help with the kids. Whoever has duty is present...on Fridays ALL teachers are there. There's a separate section of the cafeteria where the breakfast eaters eat their breakfast, but still participate in Morning Meeting.

      We have specials teachers who take care of the specials classes. An art teacher...a science/social studies teacher....a computer teachers....and a librarian. The specials teachers pick up the kids from our classes and drop them back off as well so that they are never unattended. Our half group kids all go to the same place at the same time For example...if it's Monday...my kids go to Art. The art teacher picks up half of my class and then half of my team member's class {so she technically has a full class at that time}. So that leaves 3 other specials area teachers to teach the other classes in the building. I don't know what the overall schedule looks like because that would make my head hurt :) Then the art teacher would pick up the other half of my class and the other half of my team member's class later in the morning. Does that make sense?

      There is a schedule they follow...Mondays art...T & Th are library/computer...Wednesday and Friday are science/social studies.

      My contract says I'm supposed to be at school by 7:50 and I can leave at 4:00...but then I'm typically there a bit later because of the way the buses run. The kids are considered tardy after 8:20.

      I hope I was able to answer everything!!!

      Delete
    2. That answers them all yes - if you don't mind I have a few more! How was it decided that Music would get 2hrs per week and Art 1hr per week? Is that a state mandate? When you say that the whole class goes to music/gym 'we have an hour for conference and planning' who is 'we' are you conferencing with your team-mate? with the special area teachers?
      Thanks!

      Delete
    3. I'm honestly not sure why the schedule works out the way it does because it was created by administration and the specials teachers. There are some weeks that my kids to to art twice. Some weeks they go to science/social studies twice. I just wait for everyone to tell me where we need to be :)

      When the whole class goes to PE/Music, that's my conference/planning period. That's how it's been everywhere I've taught. During that time we have an hour long "break". A working break, of course. I meet with the teachers in my pod {4 of us} once a week. The other 4 days are spent prepping materials, responding to emails, etc.

      Hope that helps.

      Delete
    4. The conference/planning time is also the time that parents know they can schedule a conference with us or call us if they need to. This is the time we give them if they need to come in/call to address any issues/concerns.

      Delete
    5. Thanks! - I think that this is a wonderful schedule - If I were principal I would be doing this! (unfortunately I am not)

      Delete
  2. I'm a long time homeschooling mommy who loves to borrow great ideas from great teachers. Your blog is very inspiring to me. We've always been fairly unstructured, but I have a little girl now who requires much more structure and who better to learn that from than awesome elementary teachers? I love all of your products on TpT as well. Keep up the good work and thanks for all the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, LaMonica! Good luck to you this school year!!

      Delete
  3. Wow, Cara!! I have a booty-load of questions!! Your schedule seems like a dream!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am literally drooling over your schedule! I love, love, love the 1/2 group guided reading! Thanks for sharing (and making me a little jealous) your schedule! :)

    P.S. I am hoping to make it to your session in Livonia!

    Ashley
    One Sharp Bunch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope to see you in Livonia, Ashley! I'd love to meet you!!!

      Delete
  5. I'm confused why dismissal is at 3:30 but your kids are there until around 4:30???? And why don't your kiddos play on the playground in the morning before the bells rings, but go the cafeteria to wait??? I would love to hear the answers to so many of the questions folks are posting. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dismissal is extended because of the bus schedule. We have a small district and not as many buses as a large district would have. We keep the bus/daycare kids in our rooms until they're able to pick them up. Carpool kids are usually all gone by 4. It's a very unique little place :)

      As for kids being in the cafeteria, I for one wouldn't feel comfortable with 300+ kids playing on one playground in the mornings. That's just an invitation for disaster! Too many kids and really, the morning meeting in the cafeteria works beautifully! It's so well organized and really gets the day started on the right foot. It gives the breakfast kids a chance to eat their food without missing out on music, movement, and pledges. It's an awesome little system! In the other schools I've been in, the kids would either meet in the gym or the cafeteria to wait for the teachers to pick them up, too!

      Hope this helps!

      Delete
  6. I love the half group idea! How amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also have an hour long dismissal time. They call car riders at 2:35 and the last bus picks up about 3:35. It is a great time to pull kids for interventions, and the car riders that I can't get to usually get pulled in the morning. We open our doors at 7:20 and the kids can go to breakfast. After they eat, they come to the hallway in a designated area and do SSR until their teacher picks them up at 7:45. The staff is split into two groups so each group has morning duty every other week, but I'm there at 7 every morning so I pull those kiddos that I can't get in the afternoon as soon as they come from breakfast.

    That half group reading does sound great, but I am blessed to have an assistant and the ELL teacher in my room during guided reading centers so it works out really well in my room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you have a great schedule, too!

      Delete
  8. Insane schedule and that Half Group idea is awesome!! Who thought of that??? AMAZING!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what I understand, our principal came up with that plan because she really believes in making the most out of small group time. Smaller numbers means more individualized attention which in turn produces better results! She's pretty awesome!

      Delete
    2. Hi Cara,

      I just had to comment on your response here!!! I teach K in an extremely small district in Illinois and I have never had more than 11 kids TOTAL in a FULL DAY kinder class.......your principal is right......small groups definitely make for more individualized attention - it is amazing that you guys are able to do that:) We only have 1 teacher per grade level in a K-8 school and last year I had 6 kids. This year I'm back up to a WHOLE 10!! LOL. It really is amazing and I can't imagine teaching 20-30 kids again now that I've been there for 9 years. Any-who, just wanted to share and thought maybe you'd want to let your principal know she is ONE SMART COOKIE!!! Have a great school year!

      Delete
  9. Thank you for sharing your schedule. It is quite interesting. I like the idea of all of the students going to the cafeteria for a morning meeting. Our busses unload at 8:50 and the kids come straight to the classroom. This happens very quickly and the announcements begin by 9:05.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love, love, love your schedule. I can't imagine having 10 kiddos to work with. I have 20 and have to find time in the day to work with small groups and individuals. We start school at 7:40 and the kids leave at 2:45-3:00. THank you so much for sharing your schedule with us!! You are an amazing teacher!

    ReplyDelete
  11. How in the world does your district have such amazing schedules?!! Two hours dedicated to small groups AND an hour plan time?!! I'm so jealous. What a wonderful school you work for.

    ReplyDelete
  12. When do your kinders get free play time? Ie: house center, puppets,, Lego, dollhouse?

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is such a great schedule for Kindergarten! That is awesome that you work in a Kindergarten/PK school. I have a friend who works in a primary school PK-2. I would love to do that some day since Early Childhood was my focus in undergrad. That one on one time and attention is so important at this age. Does your kindergarten go to school at your school? Is there a feeder school for you Kindergarten or a school next door for the older elementary kids?
    Rambling About Reading

    ReplyDelete