Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Day Our Way Link Up

Happy Saturday! I hope that all of you have a little extra time for some R&R this weekend. :) We have Monday off and I'm excited to have a little bit more time to relax this weekend, even if the snow ruined my plans to hang out with some of my dear blogging friends.  

A question I commonly get asked since I shared that I am using the Daily Five literacy model in my class is how I schedule it.  It wasn't easy to come up with a schedule but luckily I have a coworker who loves doing that sort of thing and we have found a plan that works for us.  I have four groups and meet with three out of the four each day. I think that's the beauty of the Daily Five.  It's so adaptable! 

To answer some of those questions and to collaborate with others in the blogging community, I'm linking up with a fellow Buckeye, Amelia, today for her A Day Our Way Linky.  :)  

I spent some time last night looking through all the other entries,  and I got a lot of great ideas! Fabulous idea, Amelia. :) 

I teach ELA, reading and language/grammar, to two classes.  I keep my homeroom until after lunch and my afternoon class until dismissal. 

My students start arriving at 9:25. Until 9:45, we conduct our morning business.  Since so many of my students participate in our school's breakfast program, I do not do any type of formal morning work.  My students come in, vote for their lunch count on the Smartboard, fill out their planners for my class, return their classroom library books, read, or write in their journals.  They really value this amount of choice and I typically have no problem with behavior during this time.  Our school announcements also are shown on the TV at this time. 

At 9:45, we go to specials and I have my plan period.  First period plan takes some getting used to but I really like it! Especially on the mornings where you have other meetings.  

At 10:25, I pick up my students and we go back to our room.  Then most students do fluency tubs while I work with a group of students on cloze reading passages.  You can read more about my fluency tubs {here}.  My students love this time of the day, they love playing games! It's made a huge difference in their Dibels and Daze scores too! 

At 10:40, some of my students leave for Title One reading or Junior Great Books, an enrichment program.  During this time, I start to pull my first guided reading group.  This time is a little longer than the other groups, which works out great.  For the first ten minutes, I do fluency checks or reading conferences.  Sometimes we do a Text Detective sheet together OR we just have a longer group time. 

I often start off with a little vocabulary activity for the vocabulary/language activity we are working on.  Then we work on our comprehension skills/strategies.  Our district uses a 2008 version of Treasures.  Often we read part of the weekly story, use the leveled readers, or work with a passage from Storyworks.  We have to supplement a lot. I don't mind as I really enjoy being creative and have wonderful bloggy friends who have helped me out tremendously.  

At 11:10, all my students come back and I do a ten minute mini lesson on one of the skills we are working on.  This is very much a work in progress.  Sometimes we read a short passage and practice our comprehension skill or a game related to our vocabulary strategy of the week.  It varies. Some days, like on Mondays, I combine the two together to introduce our weekly vocabulary works and make an anchor chart for our comprehension skill.  
As the week goes on, I plan what I do with my mini lessons based on misconceptions I see in small groups or on formative assessments I give.  

At 11:20, we typically have our second rotation of the Daily Five.  

I try the best I can to differentiate these group lessons as much as possible, especially if it's the second time we've worked with the skill.  Sometimes a lot of groups need more concrete practice, so we often do a lot of task cards.  While some groups are ready to apply the skill with another text.  I also use their Descartes reports from our MAP tests to help plan as well. 

At 11:40, we have another mini lesson if I didn't combine them.  For vocabulary/language, I download a lot of free little games from Smarttech Exchange.  Typically we will have a mini lesson on vocabulary and a mini lesson on comprehension if they aren't combined. 

At 11:50, I see my last group of the day. Typically this is one of my higher groups.  I spend most of time working with them, trying my best to enrich them, and then spend time explaining their extension project of the week the first time I meet with them.  These projects are completed during the rotation times where they don't meet with me. 

Often these are journal prompts or response menus about a text we read that week from my sweet friend, Amanda.  They often work on Jen Jones, Hello Literacy, Shades of Meaning Center as well.  As the year has gone on, and most students are aware of our expectations, and I am introducing these activities to my other groups as well. :)

At 12:15, we clean up and begin writing.  We use the Being a Writer program.  I do supplement a bit with units on TpT, especially when it comes to organizing their writing.  I usually begin with a mini lesson and then giving the kiddos time to work on their pieces while I try my best to conference with some of them.  

At 12:45, we start to get ready for the recess and lunch.  If we have time, we pack up our book bags too.  We have recess before lunch at my school this year and I love it! This way, I am not dealing with all kinds of recess drama when I pick them up from lunch.  It's great!

After lunch, we head upstairs and my partner teacher and I switch classes and my day starts all over again.  The only real change then is that I haven't quite found the ten minutes to do fluency tubs with them.  Ideally, this is right after we switch classes but most of time after the kiddos are done unpacking, telling me about any dismissal changes, etc., we only have five minutes until many of them leave.  It's my goal in this second half of the year to really find the time to do it! They do make such a difference. Many of the kiddos in my morning class saw gains of 20+ words per minute in their Dibels scores. 

My schedule isn't perfect, but works for us. Somedays, our groups run over a few minutes, so writing starts a little later, but that's okay. I love teaching reading this way this year.  I've seen huge growths in a lot of my kiddos and I feel that I know them as readers in a much more personal way.  Sometime soon, I'll share how we do Word Work, Work on Writing, and Read to Self, the tasks my students complete when they aren't working with me, in my room.  

Thanks, Amelia for a great link up! Have a great weekend, friends!


  1. Thank you so much for this detailed blog post. I actually just bought the book about Daily Five. I am looking forward to reading about it, and maybe implementing it. Looking forward to your next posts about Word Work, Read to Self, etc.

  2. Thank you for this post! I love seeing what other teachers do during their LA blocks. I'm newer to 4th and will be using this for sure! Thanks again!

  3. I love all the detail! This is my first year to teach the same thing to different groups of kids. It is funny how things can vary from one class to the next.

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  4. Love my fellow Buckeyes! :) I loved seeing what your typical day is like! I really love your daily journal responses.. great idea!

    Thanks for linking up :)


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