Readers/Writers Workshop and Scheduling - please critique!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pwhatley, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 7, 2010

    I'm seriously trying to get my head around the workshop approach to instruction, and I really want to implement it this coming school year. I have to use our basal - Storytown, but I think I may have worked out a schedule. Please read and let me know what you think - good, bad, or indifferent. This schedule is for first graders (and is after much R & P training). Oh, and my P will require a detailed LP and schedule, lol. Thanks in advance!

    Here's a sample schedule, based on last year's timetable:

    7:55 - 8:30 Greet students, morning work (eventually journal writing), beginning of the day business

    ELA
    8:30 - 8:40 Whole Group #1 - Read aloud, Phonemic Awareness
    8:40 - 9:00 Independent Practice #1: I pull small groups, Students - read to self, read to someone (buddy), work on writing, listen to reading, or spelling/word work ("center" time)
    9:00 - 9:10 Whole Group #2 - Word Work (spelling)
    9:10 - 9:30 Independent Practice #2: I pull small groups, Students - read to self, read to someone (buddy), work on writing, listen to reading, or spelling/word work ("center" time)
    9:30 - 9:40 Whole Group #3 - Reading Strategy/Skill
    9:40 - 10:00 Independent Practice #3: I pull small groups, Students - read to self, read to someone (buddy), work on writing, listen to reading, or spelling/word work ("center" time)
    10:00 - 10:10 Whole Group #4 - Grammar and/or Writing
    10:10 - 10:30 Independent Practice #4 - I pull small groups, Students - read to self, read to someone (buddy), work on writing, listen to reading, or spelling/word work, peer conference ("center" time)
    10:30 - 10:40 Whole Group #5 - Writing and/or Sharing
    10:40 - 11:00 Independent Practice #5 - I pull small groups, Students - read to self, read to someone (buddy), work on writing, listen to reading, peer conference, or spelling/word work ("center" time)

    Math
    11:00 - 11:15 Whole Group #1 - Quick Review, Mini Lesson
    11:15 - 11:45 Independent Practice - I pull small groups, Students - peer conference, independent work, confer with me, literacy math activities
    11:45 - 12:00 Whole Group #2 - Review, Wrap-Up

    12:00 - 12:20 Lunch
    12:20 - 12:30 Bathroom
    12:30 - 1:15 Enrichment

    1:15 - 1:30 Recess

    1:30 - 1:45 Whole Group: Sci/SS/Health instruction
    1:45 - 2:30 Independent Practice: Sci/SS/Health activities Of course, this will change when we start pulling intervention groups

    2:30 - 2:45 Whole Group: wrap up, clean up, pack up
     
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  3. njteach41

    njteach41 Middle School Social Studies Teacher

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    Jul 7, 2010

    maybe this is a silly question, maybe i'm just not seeing it but when do your kids have math? are you lit/sci only? and they switch to math on other days? that is a lot of literacy time in one day. also, for writer's workshop, my students' successes in writing come from the 1:1 conferencing i do with them during writer's workshop. this is a time to conference with students individually and work on their specific strengths and weaknesses.
     
  4. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 7, 2010

    Oops, I'm so sorry - math is in the 11:00 - 12:00 timer frame, lol - I just forgot to type in the word math!
     
  5. njteach41

    njteach41 Middle School Social Studies Teacher

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    Jul 7, 2010

    for both reader's and writers workshop, i would suggest spend 3/4 of your pull out time with guided small groups, and 1/4 for 1:1 conferencing maybe even (1/2 and 1/2)... you won't get to each child every day, but you will see them all at least twice through out the 5 days. That 1:1 time is what really moved my kids forward this year. Its the ultimate form of differentiation, working on the skill that specific child needs.
     
  6. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jul 7, 2010

    I think your schedule looks good. Just a few questions to clarify. :D

    I think your schedule is really great! Lots of time for group and individual and small group instruction and lots of independent practice time which is SO important in first grade! :)
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 8, 2010

    njteach - I am required to meet with my lowest readers every day, and every reader at least three times per week. I plan to use the Independent Practice time to accomplish those meetings (small group - guided reading).

    trayums - thanks for the complements! Because we are required to use our basal program - Storytown ("we didn't spend all that money just to have it sit on a shelf"), I am trying to follow the daily schedule of IT, in a RW format. That way, my P and instructional coordinator will recognize what we are doing at any given time (in the mini lessons, and then in the follow-up activities). It won't be a "perfect" daily 5, but it'll be a "storytown" daily 5! At least that's what I'm hoping for.
     
  8. meltua

    meltua Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2010

    Your schedule looks great on paper, but I when I tried my reading block like that I ended up losing so much time transitioning from the carpet to stations. So for my 90 min. of reading block I do 20 to 30 min of whole group at the beginning and then they go to stations and I do guided reading the rest of the time. But that doesn't mean it won't work for you. Here's how I fit in my Storytown lessons:

    Everyday: phonemic awareness and oral question of the day

    Mon: introduce phonics/spelling words and read the "Getting Started story"

    Tues: introduce HFW's and reading comp. strategy and read the main basal story

    Wed: vocabulary with a read aloud

    Thur: additional phonics (word families, contractions, compound words, etc.)

    Fri: comprehension skills (we use Comprehension Toolkit lessons for these)
     
  9. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2010

    Just a small thing - you'll need more than one bathroom break for sure! :) I also agree with meltua. Transitions can take SO long (even in 2nd). I tend to do a 30 minute shared reading time and then we do 3 consecutive sessions of Daily 5 without doing mini-lessons in between. I know that's what the book says to do, but I just haven't been able to do it without losing a lot of time. My kids get really good at switching right from one Daily to another. Just an idea!
     
  10. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2010

    Gotcha PWhatley- I love the fact that you are trying something new and not just sticking with the basal etc. That's great. I do agree that transitions could take a bit longer especially in the beginning of the year etc. I do think your schedule looks good though. I have never used a basal (well not since student teaching), so I am not versed in what that entails. What elements do you have to include etc???
     
  11. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Jul 8, 2010

    I don't feel you have enough transition time built in or time with your small groups. I teach 2nd grade and by the time the students put away their materials, get out their new ones and move to their next scheduled meeting or assignment 5 - 10 minutes is easily used up. Students will also be coming up to you to ask questions or you will be monitoring behavior. This will eat up some of your small group time. Also, you need a break time in the morning. Going 4 hours is an awfully long time for students to go without a break. Some of my kids eat breakfast early and by 10:00 they are hungry and need a snack.
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 8, 2010

    Okay, point taken about the transition time - this is a potential schedule for after we have done lots of r & p practice, lol. I should give more time for transitions, but how do you write it into a schedule? (1 minute here, 30 seconds there?)

    mrs100 & janlee - we have a bathroom in our classroom, so that is not a problem, and my students have bottles of water on their desks as well, so they stay hydrated. We are not allowed to have food in the classrooms before lunch. They block of time allotted (school-wide) for ELA is mandatory and inviolate. Unless it is an emergency, no one leaves the classroom, and we must have 100% engagement.

    meltua - am I understanding that you only work on one or two skills per day, and not the entire day's curriculum? Also, how do you handle test days in reading workshop? While I don't plan on pushing through strictly on 5-days per lesson, that is the schedule we are generally encouraged to keep.
     
  13. meltua

    meltua Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2010

    You're right, I just spend more time (about 30 min) on that one skill each day instead of minilessons throughout the week. Of course everything is reiterated in small group and the low kids meet with me everyday at guided reading and intervention so they are getting more of the much needed phonics practice then.

    As for testing, the only thing we do is a weekly dictation sentence or two to see if they've got the phonics skills. And that's done outside of the reading block.

    Just curious, do you use the Harcourt strategic intervention plans?
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 8, 2010

    I want to - they had them at my last school, but we don't have enough at my current (and otherwise fabulous) school. The very lowest (intensive) get an hour of intervention using another program (not by me - by one of our inclusion teachers in her classroom). It's pretty good, because it worked wonders for my 2 that went to her! The strategic kiddos get an extra 1/2 hour with me or another teacher (depending upon need - we do RTI), and we use the regular program, but just extra practice and more intensive (but often fun) work. I hope I'm making sense. The benchmarked kiddos go with another teacher for "enrichment" activities during that 1/2 hour.
     
  15. meltua

    meltua Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2010

    Wow, that's great to have that extra help. We do have someone to do an extra 30 min of intensive intervention if needed, but I would love to have enrichment for my higher kids- I guess that's up to me to do!=)
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 9, 2010

    We'll have to see if the budget will allow for our Title I personnel this year - that's the "enrichment" teacher - a Title I para. Don't get me wrong - she's fantastic. Our budget is going through major red-lining, though.
     

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