A Peek Into My Day

It's been a while since I've blogged.  I feel like I am drowning in a sea of paperwork, data, and schedules, but the good news is that I am staying afloat!  Just keeping swimming, just keep swimming....oh sorry!  I have had lots of questions about my daily schedule so I thought I would stop by tonight to let you take a peek into my daily happenings and see what a day in my classroom looks like.  Let's begin, shall we?

Frame from Krista Wallden, Fonts from Kimberly Geswein and Jen Jones

8:15-8:30 Morning Work

My students have an attendance check-in on the ActivBoard where they also mark their lunch preference for the day.  I have a student who also takes my attendance from the board and puts it into my iDoceo app on my iPad that I blogged about over at our collaborative blog, Owl-ways Be Inspired {HERE}.  After they have put their belongings away and marked their lunch choice, the students get busy on their Morning Work which is from the fabulous teacher-authors from Second Story Window.  You can find their Morning Work {HERE} and I highly recommend it.  It's fabulous....AND Common Core Aligned!

8:30-10:00 Reading Core

This is our main ELA block.  We are mandated to have 90 minutes of ELA in primary grades.  This is fabulous because you have just the right amount of time to do some whole group learning and then break into centers and meet with small groups.  We use a basal, but I adapt it to fit our needs.  This is how I teach the concepts from the basal.  During Reading Core, I only teach phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.  Grammar and writing have their own time allotment in our schedule.

Whole Group: Phonics, High Frequency Words, and Vocabulary Words, First Read of the Anchor Text
Small Groups: Vocabulary Readers/Activity
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Introduce Comprehension Skill, Second Read of the Anchor Text (Analyze the Text)
Small Groups: Decodable Reader #1/Fluency
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Independent Read of the Anchor Text and Common Core Graphic Organizer
Small Groups: Leveled Reader/Activity
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Introduce Vocabulary Strategy, Compare Texts with a Companion Texts
Small Groups: Decodable Reader #2/Fluency
Rotations: Centers

Assessments: Spelling Tests, Weekly Reading Test, Progress Monitoring, Culminating Activity
Rotations: Centers

Now is this the same every week?  Absolutely not!  This is a mere skeleton of how my ELA block looks.  I am actually adapting some of my center rotations as we speak, because I find that we are needing more "skill-based work" with the more rigorous reading series we have this year.  So that will be a whole other post in itself!  Coming soon to a blog near you... :)

10:00-10:25 Recess

My favorite time of the day!  Just kidding...kinda.  Honestly, I DO love watching the kiddos interact with their peers in a social setting.  It's interesting to see how they play, cooperate, solve problems (or not), and just have fun and be silly!  It is refreshing after a 90 minute intense ELA block, I cannot lie.  :)

10:25-10:55 Science/Social Studies

This is our first year adopting the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and I have to say I really like that they have an engineering connection.  After all, we are preparing today's kids for jobs that don't even exist yet!  These standards go deeper and are more rigorous than our state standards for science in the past and they are grade-specific, which definitely helps to cover content and hold grade levels accountable for specific standards.  Also if you visit that website in the link above or {HERE} and dig a little deeper into your specific grade level on the site, you will see that it links up with the Common Core State Standards so that you can integrate and do some pretty awesome cross-curricular thematic units if time and pacing guides allow.  I really like this component of the website.

With only having 30 minutes for Science AND Social Studies, we alternate between units of each.  With having a 90-minute ELA block above, it's pretty difficult to squeeze in science and social studies, but we definitely feel that it's necessary to cover both, even if for a short time.  So we do what we can and try to cover the standards to the depth and rigor required.  We are still using our state standards for Social Studies at this time.  We also try to be thematic about our planning.   For example, we cover Patterns of Movement and Human-Environment Interaction when we cover the history of Thanksgiving and Native Americans in November.  We also cover Elements of Culture and Geography as we do Holidays around the World in December.  We try to be as thematic as possible and also to integrate subjects as often as possible.

10:55-11:25 Reading RTI

This is when our interventions take place for our Tier 2 and Tier 3 students.  We have some pull-out services with interventionists who service our students and we also ability group during this time to provide support, supplemental, and enrichment so that we are meeting the needs of all of our students during this time.  I teach the enrichment group so we have lots of novel studies, author studies, literature circles, and other activities planned.  I have my Gifted and Talented Endorsement, so I love to provide those high-achievers and the GT students with some enrichment to keep them challenged and to take their thinking to a deeper level than what they get in their regular Core Reading time.  This is something I am VERY passionate about.  The GT kids shouldn't get left behind or be given more/extra work!  They should be pushed to a higher level of thinking!  Blog post to come about that....

11:30-11:55 LUNCH

We are lucky enough to have a duty-free 25-minute lunch!  Can I get an Amen?!  I hear there are many of you who do not have the luxury of a duty-free lunch, so I feel blessed to have 25 minutes to scarf down some crackers, go to the restroom, check my mailbox, and scan my email.  :)

12:00-1:00 Math Core

This is our Core Math time.  We use a non-traditional basal series which I LOVE.  It introduces the students to a whole other level of thinking about math.  I will admit, it took a LOT of getting used to.  I had to brush up on my math skills myself.  We are trying to steer away from the traditional algorithms and think more about composing and decomposing numbers.  This directly aligns to the expectations in the Common Core State Standards.  I use my Common Core Math Quick Assessments as formative assessments to make sure that my students are mastering the standards being taught and meeting the rigor of the Common Core.  I just thought of another blog post I need to write about the shift in paradigm in how we teach our students mathematics.  I have my Elementary Math Specialist Endorsement as well, so I'm equally as passionate about math as I am Gifted and Talented.  :)  OK, that blog post is added to the to-do list of blog posts.  Back to the schedule...sorry!

1:00-1:30 Math RTI

This operates the same as the interventions for Reading RTI that I mentioned above.  Tier 2 and Tier 3 students are being serviced with something more or something different (research-based) with interventionists, while Tier 1 is being serviced with supplemental or enrichment activities.  Bring on the PBL (Project Based Learning) for those enrichment kiddos!  ANOTHER blog post to come about PBL... (my blogging to-do list is getting pretty lengthy as I continue to write this post).

1:30-2:15 Special Areas

Our kiddos go to Guidance, PE, Music, Art, Media Center (Library), and/or Computer Lab during this time.  This is 45 minutes to plan, attend meetings, check emails, make copies, attend PLCs, analyze data, use the restroom, etc.  I don't think any teacher's planning period is actually used for "planning" right? ;)

2:15-2:30 Read-Aloud

Love this time of the day!  The kiddos come sit at the carpet and we enjoy some awesome children's literature.  No tough thinking, no paper/pencil work, just time to sink into a good book and enjoy.  Probably one of my most favorite parts of the day!  It's amazing how with just one book, you can turn some kiddos onto reading just like that!  Love it!

2:30-3:00 Grammar/Writing

I usually reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for introducing and practicing the grammar skill for the week with hands-on activities and technology of course.  Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are spent applying that grammar skill in our writing.  I like to pull from my Common Core Writing Activities to teach some authentic, Common Core-Aligned writing.  I have a really helpful Q&A blog post about my Common Core Writing Activities {HERE}.  I have them listed in my TPT store by the month or bundled in two bundles to save you 20%.  I also have FREE Common Core Writing Rubrics to accompany those.  You can download those for FREE {HERE}.

3:00-3:15 Behavior Calendars/Dismissal

During this time, we fill out our behavior calendars which I will post about on our collaborative blog, Owl-ways Be Inspired later on this week when I blog about my Classroom Management.  We pass out any important papers that go home during this time and then pack up and prepare for dismissal.

That's it!  You made it through my day!  If you're like me, you're exhausted just reading all that!  If you made it through the entire post, thanks for hanging with me.  Just as I was writing this, I came up with a whole list of blog posts to come, so here's what's coming soon:

* Re-thinking ELA Centers - Making Changes
* Gifted and Talented Students Shouldn't Get More Work!
* The Shift in Paradigm for How We Teach Math
* Project-Based Learning in the Classroom
* Classroom Management Tips on Owl-ways Be Inspired Collaborative Blog

So let's hear from you!  Comment below.  What does your schedule look like?  How long is your ELA block?  How do your RTI/interventions work in your building?  Do you have a duty-free lunch?  I would love to hear from you.  Leave me a comment and tell me about your day!  :)


  1. Just curious...which math series do you love? Love your assessment packet!

  2. I am also curious as to what math series you use. Also, what do you do on Friday for centers for Reading?