Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A New Way to Look at Your Day

Partner teaching is wonderful in many ways- I love only teaching 2 content areas (ELA/Social Studies) but I run into some problems having two classes... especially one in the morning and one in afternoon. My morning class is focused and ready to go, engaged and eager. My afternoon class - after lunch and specials - are sluggish, tired and mentally tapped out (like me)! 

To solve this dilemma my partner teacher and I brainstormed several ways to fight the "afternoon slumps" we were facing. One idea we came up with, tried, and FELL IN LOVE WITH is having all our small group time in the afternoon. This works so beautifully for us because we teach BOTH of our whole classes in the morning - 1 and a half hours each and then go to lunch, specials and come back and do mega small groups. Here is a look at what my schedule looked like before and after we began our mega small groups. 

My Homeroom: BLUE CLASS  
   Second Class: GREEN CLASS

7:30-8:00~ Blue Class comes in, puts away their backpacks and gathers their materials and goes to math. Green class comes in, eats breakfast, does warm-up, restroom. Announcements.
8:00-9:15~ Whole Class teach Green Class. 
9:20-10:20~ Small Group time with Green Class. 
10:20-10:25~ Clean up/Restroom/Switch Classes 
10:35-10:55~ RECESS
11:05-11:35~ LUNCH
12:50-1:55~ Whole Class teach Blue Class. 
1:55-2:50~ Small Group time with Blue Class.
2:55-3:10~ Pick Up/Pack Up/Get ready to go home. 

7:30-8:00~ Blue Class comes in, puts away their backpacks and gathers their materials and goes to math. Green class comes in eats breakfast, does warm-up, restroom. Announcements.
8:00-9:30~ Whole Class teach Green Class. 
9:30-9:35~ Clean Up/Restroom/Switch Classes
9:30-11:00~ Whole Class teach Blue Class. 
11:05-11:35~ LUNCH
12:50-2:30~ SMALL GROUP/Workshop time 
2:30-2:35~ Clean up/Go back to homeroom
2:35-2:50~ RECESS
2:55-3:10~ Pick Up/Pack Up/Get ready to go home.

The way we work our small groups is with six 15 minute rotations each day. We had to schedule each student for each rotation, each day something different so they don't get bored (and we won't have to recreate them every other few weeks!) Each child has 3 rotations of math focus activities in the math class class and 3 rotations of reading focus in the reading class. When they are scheduled to meet with us their schedule says "Meet with Mrs. Teel" and that tells them to come to my small group table. We also scheduled in our specialists (math and reading). They meet with them for 30 minutes - so rotations 1 & 2 a students card may say "Meet with Mrs. Castleberry" so that tells them to go to her for those 2 rotations.

The kids have to be responsible. They HAVE to know where to go and what to do without needing the teachers help. I think is was best that we started this at the end of the 1st 9 weeks. That way we had to first 8 weeks to teach them what are stations are and the expectations while they are there. It helped make the transition into this new routine seamless and relatively painless. The kids knew what to do and when to do it. They knew where to go and how they were expected to behave. The students were already use to do any I/C (incomplete) work before going to their stations, so that worked out easy peasy! :) 

Here is a quick look at the necklace schedules that we created for each student to wear during small group time. We made them necklaces so they can wear them and not lose them!

If you have any questions about how this works or more details just leave me a comment!

I will post more pictures of this time in action soon. :)  

Happy Teaching Friends!! 

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