The beginning of the school year is fast approaching. For first year, and even veteran teachers, working on schedules and routines can be a stumbling block. But we have 5 tips that should help you start the year off great.
1. Make connections with colleagues
In order to make your schedule work, you have to know the extent of how many different educators you may be working with during the school year. There is the special education teacher, the gifted and talented teacher, a Title 1 teacher, the Speech teacher, an ELL (English Language Learners) teacher, and possibly more professionals that you will be sharing students with. Be thankful that there are so many educators that are there to help your children succeed. Make sure to meet with them before the first day so you can figure out what times these educators will be either taking students out of your room, or working with them in the classroom.
2. Required Minutes
Most states have mandated minutes that you have to teach the core subjects. Your best resource for a sample daily teaching schedule would be a teaching partner at the same grade level, or your principal. If you have a teaching partner, it would be a good idea to look at how the schedule is organized and see if you both agree that you like the way it is set up. If you make changes, make sure to include all the educators that may be affected such as: special education, title 1, ELL, Speech, etc…
3. Reading Rotations
If you teach guided reading, you know what kind of a headache it can be to fit in all of your groups. We have found that three-twenty minute rotations works best for us. We do not like to have groups bigger than 6 students. So where does that leave the other students that can’t meet during three rotations? We use Daily 3 at the 5th grade level where students have choices between read to self, word work, and work on writing. Here is a blog post we wrote about the Daily 3. We meet with our two lowest groups every day and rotate in the higher groups every other day. It works extremely well!
Using the RtI (Response to Intervention) framework, it is important to meet the needs of all of your learners. We have a designated 30 minute block of time each day set aside for this to occur. During this time, any classroom teachers at the same grade level as us, along with any resource teachers (special education, Title 1, ELL) will take small groups of students and work on specific standards. This focused time allows us to work closely with those students and really target what they need.
5. Morning Routines
If you want to success to happen right off the bat, you need to have morning routines in place. Nothing is worse than chaos to start the day. Make sure the students know what they are expected to do as they enter the classroom. We wrote a blog post about soft start mornings that has been very popular with educators.
If you liked this blog post,, you will want to check out The First Year Teacher eBook with 29 pages of helpful tips for beginning teachers.
You will also want to check out our companion guide: The First Year Teacher Resources which contains 40 different items you can use your first year of teaching!
Thanks and here is to a successful year of teaching!
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