Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day in the Life of...

I was asked by Kim to describe a typical day in my classroom to show how I fit it all in, so here I go.

First bell is at 8:15 and my students start to trickle in then, and by trickle, yes, it takes a while for all of them to get there.  They know they have 15 minutes until math starts so in those 15 minutes they have to sign in, read the morning message, work on geography and spelling for the week, help correct grammar on the board, and hand anything in.  Most students have extra time so they end up chatting with friends, filling water bottles, or reading.  1 or 2 minutes  prior to my math timer going off I will run through the day with the kids so that they know what to expect.  I also showcase any special events in my morning message to diminish questions.

At 8:30 math begins, we have a routine every day for the first 5 minutes which include a fact test based on the given day and a hypothetical test questions where they have to come up with 3 wrong answers and one right one.  After that I start my lesson by explaining the goal to them, asking for previous knowledge, and then we start.  I try to limit my talking so often they share in their groups or show me solutions to examples o white boards etc.  By 9:00 I better be done with the lesson so that students can work on their math work and I can work with kids that need extra help or even an extra lesson in something.  We have all the way until 9:45 for math, which is such a huge help.

15 minutes for recess and students come in for 70 minutes of literacy.  The first 10 minutes is snack time so we will often correct the two grammar sentences from the morning and then discuss the lessons goal and check in with student progress.  Every Monday we then do a 20 minute exercise called weekend web, Tuesdays we take 20 minutes to infer meaning behind a selected poem or song (often we sing the song as well), Wednesday and Thursday are dedicated to whichever writing project we have going, and Friday we do 15 minutes of writing Op. Ed.  The remaining time is dedicated to at least 20 minutes of read to self or someone, in which I meet with my daily book club or single students that need an extra conference, and beyond that we work on our writing projects.  It is quite amazing how much we get done in those 70 minutes!

Social studies or science are taught in 45 minute blocks, again we discuss the goal of the lesson (2 minutes max), relate to previous lessons and then are off.  My students rarely need a lot of instruction, in fact, they beg me to not talk at them too much because they would rather just get to work.  I think it helps that at the introduction of any kind of new project we discuss goals, expectations and timeline for it so the kids are keenly aware of the direction we are headed and the purpose of it.

So as you can see, there is nothing magical in my room, just a sense of urgency because we have a lot of fun things to do and learn about and the kids dig that.  We are never in a rush though, just rolling along at a good pace.


Lori Sabo said...

Love that you are never in a rush...but go in a good pace. Thanks for sharing.

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