Figuring out how to maneuver different schedules is a fact of life as a teacher. Between my recess and lunch times, the aide I am lucky enough to have, and the RSP teacher who also needs to schedule into my room to work with students (not to mention any specials we have throughout the week...I know, we are lucky to have them!), I have quite a lot to juggle when it comes to my language arts block.
I have been really struggling this year trying to accommodate everything I *want* to do with everything I *have* to do and I think I may have a solution. It is still in it's infancy, and things in my world are constantly changing, BUT all of the elements of what I want are there. So I am going to share this with you now.
Basically, I have reworked my Independent Work Time. I usually use this time as a "catch up" for my students but they weren't always catching up. The students never really got to what I wanted them to do because they were so busy (or not so busily) working on the first task and never moving forward. Then I would have the students who finished everything in a few minutes and I was constantly searching for something for them to do.
Test Prep Rotations into the IWT time. Each week, the students are given this checklist.
Here is a copy of the checklist for you.
The tasks are:
Reading Record Rings, a Comprehension Mat, or complete the response to the weekly story during this time. It is up to them, but they MUST be responding during this entire time. No dilly dallying!
root word work. I like that they are doing this, they like that they are doing this, and I am not sure it will change much throughout the year.
While they are working on the stations, I am calling groups, two for 15 minutes each. This means, that some of the kids only get 15 minutes for their station. That is ok though, since when they are working with me, I am providing remediation on what the kids need (based on their weekly quizzes and the breakdown that I have). I am really liking this because, honestly, it is forcing me to work with the students in a more systematic way. Before, I would call the groups, but really, since now I am part of the rotation, I can't really 'find something else to do'. I am getting so much more bang for my buck right now.
When the students are done with the rotation for the day, they write on their chart where they visited, what they did, and if they finished. If they saw me, they write that down as well.
You will notice that there are only 4 stations (if you exclude me). That is purposeful. One day a week, on Thursdays actually, I give the students a comprehension quiz/language arts quiz. When they are finished with quiz, that is the time for them to catch up on all the work that they didn't complete at the stations. Thursday is our "catch up" day (which, luckily enough, we also have built into our reading series, so nothing is being lost)
Then, the students turn in their sheet with all of their completed work, and receive a work habits score on it.
So that is it. Just a different way for me to organize my IWT time. How do you organize yours?