Saturday, August 6, 2016

10 Things To Do Before Back to School: #7

Happy Saturday morning friends!  I am a little behind on my 10 Things To Do Before Back to School posts so today I'm playing catch up.  Next up - creating a daily schedule and beginning your lesson plans for the school year.  

While for most of us, our daily schedule is at the mercy of our administration, we do have some control over when we teach certain subjects.  Our biggest chunks of time should be directed to reading and math instruction.  I personally like teaching reading in the morning while my students are still fresh for the day.  I save math and science - typically more hands on subjects - for after lunch.  It's also important to consider the flow of your day.  As I began working on my schedule for this year, I knew I wanted to put my read aloud right before my writing block.  Often we take what we've discussed in our read aloud and incorporate it into our writing so to pair them together made sense. 

Once you have a daily schedule in place, you can create or set your lesson plan template.  Mine might not be fancy, but it works for me!  I like viewing my day vertically.  It allows me to go down the activities through the day and check them off. 

I type in my lesson plans each week then print them off and stick them in my planning binder.  This binder holds my lesson plans, student information sheets, pacing chart from our district and our pacing calendar created by our kindergarten team.  

The pacing chart is created each year by our instructional facilitator team.  It lays out what we should be teaching each quarter for the year.  It also lays our what standards are report card items.  

While the district tells us what to teach each quarter, it is our discretion to decide what to teach when during that quarter.  Our district has 16 different kindergarten classrooms and, as a kindergarten team, we decided it would be helpful for all of us to be on the same page as far as what we were teaching each week.  This would help with students transferring to other buildings and would help teacher share ideas and resources.  We typically choose a day each summer and get together to decide the kindergarten pacing calendar.  We decide what we are teaching each week, the focus sight words each week and when we are assessing report cards items.  This has been TREMENDOUSLY helpful for consistency within our team!  This year, I used Google Sheets to create the calendar.  It took a little while at first, but I figured it out!  Each subject is color coded so teachers can easily read what we are teaching in ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Writing.  

Be sure to consider any and all curriculum calendars into your pacing calendar.  We specially follow our Handwriting Tears Guidelines when deciding what letters to teach in handwriting and we use the guide in our Go Math curriculum to determine how long teaching a chapter should roughly take (note: all classes are different and we allow teachers/classes to move a little faster or slower through the calendar).  Our Social Studies curriculum is new this year and I am excited to check it out!

Beginning next weekend, I will be sharing my weekly plans with you each Sunday - that's my goal anyway.... ;)  Be sure to come back and check out the resources I'm using!

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