A schedule is one of the first things a teacher needs to think about when setting up for the new year. Below you will find some teacher-tested tips and tricks to build out a 1st or 2nd grade schedule that will set you and your students up for success.
Make your Schedule Visible
First, pick a spot. Visualize your classroom. When your students are sitting at their desks, where would be an obvious spot for the schedule to be displayed? This should be a spot that every student can easily see no matter where they are sitting in the classroom.
Versatile Schedule Cards
You have some options. I prefer to print the schedule cards and laminate them. I keep the cards in a basket on a table right next to the schedule. This allows for an easy way to change the schedule out each day. Another option would be to write the schedule on the whiteboard.
Add Clocks to your 1st or 2nd Grade Schedule
An easy and practical way to reinforce the concept of telling time is to print out clock cards. Then, place the clocks next to each part of the schedule. You will be amazed at how quickly your students will learn the concept of time when it is connected to this real-life and relevant application of time.
Keep your Schedule Consistent
This can be tough but TRY to keep your schedule as consistent as possible. Students thrive off of consistency. A consistent schedule will allow for your students to know what’s next in their day. A consistent schedule creates routine and normalcy.
Time to Build the Schedule
Take out the notebook, it’s time to sketch it out! Use a pencil…you may be making some changes as you start to plan.
Start with the times you don’t have Control over
Start with the time blocks that you don’t have control over. That would include but may not be limited to the following:
- Special Education Pull Out
Write these into your schedule and highlight them as an indicator that those times do not move or change.
Morning Meeting & Closing Circle
The end of the day is perfect for a structure like a closing circle. It’s a way to wrap up and summarize the day, go over important announcements, and reflect on the day.
Math blocks can look different from district to district. You may be constricted to a specific amount of time. You may be required to incorporate interventionists or tier math groups at this time. Go with the flow. Make the best of what you are given to work with.
I like to start with about 20 minutes of whole group, explicit, and direct instruction. This is my opportunity to teach the new skill for the day. That is followed up with about 40 minutes of small group time. Typically, my students are given an independent practice task which leads into their center or station activity.
The literacy block of time is definitely the largest chunk of time in a 1st or 2nd grade schedule. It is essential that you are strategic in the planning of this part of the day. When I am planning my literacy block, one of the main focus points that drives my decisions in what I cover are the 5 essential components of teaching literacy. Those include:
There are many ways to teach these 5 essential components. You have to decide what works best for you and your students. I prefer to do some whole group and some small group. I also work in a writing block during this time.
As a rule of thumb, my whole group instruction is structured around direct and explicit instruction of new skills. My small group time is an opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned to practice the skills in a small group setting. When I pull students to the teacher table for intervention time, I am doing this based upon skill deficits.
Give Grace and Flexibility
At the end of the day, we create these perfect-on-paper schedules and then real life gets thrown at us and we have to go with the flow! Get a schedule and try to stay as consistent as possible but also give yourself grace when something throws a wrench in your schedule. Give yourself the grace and flexibility to make changes as you need to.
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