Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How do you have time for THAT?!

Hi-ya, peeps! How are ya?!

Alrighty, here I am… as promised to give a peek into the pacing of our day. I’ve {jokingingly}, ahem….no, really…lol…diagnosed myself with ADD, so if it seems our day moves at lightening speed, it’s probably because IT DOES. My attention span mirrors that of a 6 year old. After 15 minutes, I’m so ready to moooove on! And we have tons to cover, so there isn’t a minute to waste!

Now, before we get started, please keep in mind that this outlines the course of a normal day. What’s normal?! If you’ve taught more than a day, you know….every day doesn’t run exactly the same and we’re in the business of growing little human beings. Things have to be changed, juggled, rearranged, addressed or ignored some days in order for all of the pieces to fall into place.


Ready? Tighten your seat belts! Here we go!


We begin each morning with reading independently or Read to SELF. Students have 3 “good fit” books of their choice, a decodable reader, their guided reading book and a journal in their book boxes. After reading a self-selected book, students move to their desks to reflect on reading. We began the year, simply building the routine of read and reflect. The tasks have since become a little more skill centered. You can check out what we’re using for morning work now, HERE!

Quiet music plays during this time and the lights are dimmed in order to provide a calm atmosphere to start the day. Our lights actually stay this way throughout most of the morning. It helps to serve as a reminder that we’re in a quiet work environment. We also get the best picture projected for the mimio this way.


What I dislike the most about the beginning of the year is having to TALK soooo much! I know its necessary, but I absolutely love how much smoother our day flows once routines are taught and learned. Now, we move by cues and signals in order to transition and meet expectations rather than me explaining my voice away throughout the day. How do I know they’ve really got it? When they begin to watch and anticipate my moves even before the cues are given. In addition to being a little ADD, there’s a little OCD thrown in the mix too. I am absolutely a sucker for routine! Kiddos need predictability and admittedly, so do I.

We transition to the carpet by changing the soft music to something a little more fast paced that requires simple movements. The Hand Jive….(a clapping rhythms song) works great. Bodies move to the carpet, ears listen, hands are busy. The class’ goal is to clear their desks and make it to the carpet before the song ends.


Once at the carpet, we discuss our goals for the day. Move through 1/2 of our calendar routine… (We’ll talk about that another day.) …and head out for recess. There are lots of little people on our campus that must share the playground, so we go out pretty early. So far, so good….it’s worked well.

After getting all of our sillies out at recess, we’re ready to move back into the room and prepare for our literacy block. Do you teach reading in the morning? This is the first year that I have and I’m lovin’ it! I could really, Really….REALLY teach reading all.day.long….so beginning the day with it has been a pleasant change of pace for me. Our schedule is set in such a way that we have a nice long stretch of uninterrupted time and we squeeze sooooo much into every second!

Our CAFE board has reading strategies on it now! And {whooooa, Nelly} if I don’t remember to add one each week! My kiddos are really into it and refer back to it during think-alouds.

We use a workshop model which consists of 3 mini-lessons, with 3 rounds of Daily 5. You can check out a previous post about it here. The mini-lessons cover skills in comprehension, word study, fluency, shared reading, etc…. Mini-lesson….guided reading and stations. Mini-lesson….guided reading and stations. Mini-lesson….guided reading and stations. Get the idea? Each rotation takes around 30 minutes or so. During small group, differentiation occurs to meet individual needs for emerging and early guided reading groups. (We’ll go a little deeper into small group another day too.)


This big guy is an example of one of our comprehension mini-lessons. We created this story map together and then placed it in the writing station for students to add details and discuss the story. It made for a great review before our comprehension assessment too!

Next up, LUNCH! Yum!!!

After lunch, things get a little crazy! We finish the second 1/2 of our calendar routine. Count and move to music….Then….


introduce concepts and record learning in our math journals. I model on the document camera and students record examples in their journals. It’s divided into monthly sections by a calendar at the beginning of each month.

After journals, we play games or use hands-on activities to learn math concepts all together. Once we’ve gone over concepts, we generally practice independently at our desks or with our shoulder buddies. Students’ work is given a “quick check” and then it’s time for specials! Tired yet? By this time, the lights have been turned back on and kiddos are ready for a brain break!

They’re off to specials and………I’m off to a meeting or prepping for them to return.


After specials, we move to math stations. This time lasts for about 20 minutes. It’s a laid back time of day where students get to work in small groups to practice math concepts. During this time, I also get to either get down on the floor to have conversations with students or meet with students that need more support in math. The activities that we use, depend heavily on skills that we need more practice mastering.

Inspired by a pin from thewildthingslearn
Think the day’s over? Nope! Not yet! After math stations, we visit the word wall to interact with our sight words for the week. This is a quick daily practice with games, writing, or reading the word wall. From the word wall…we head into writer’s workshop for the last hour of the day!

We start out calm…get a little wild and crazy in math….and return to calm with writing. I love writing at the end of the day. It tends to be quieter, because well…let’s face it, they’re pooped by now! Ha! And it allows me time, again, to walk around and provide students with individual one on one time. Word wall…mini-lesson, independent writing and conferring. That’s the gist.

Science and social studies are integrated into this time, as well. Grammar M, W, and Friday. Science or Social Studies T and Thursday. Science and social studies topics are also integrated into our literacy block.

Do YOUR sentences have Superhero SWAG?! Ours do, lol! Writing is fun!

Inspired by a pin from KeriB at teachersbitsandbobs.blogspot.com
And……THAT, ladies and gentlemen is  how we roll! The day….at the speed of lightening, in a nutshell.


Need a nap now? I do!

Laters, gators!


  1. Tanya!
    You have an entire HOUR longer than I do! I am JEALOUS! I feel rushed every day! And boy do I love your SWAG poster!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  2. Love the SWAG poster! I'll have to use that!
    Teachin' First

  3. It all sounds great and I look forward to hearing all your "save for later" stuff!!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. How do you assess your comprehension in the classroom?


Leave a little love.....Thanks! :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...