A Day Our Way Linky...A Day in the Life of I {Heart} Recess

Today I am linking up with my friend and Best Blogging Buddy, Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn for her "A Day Our Way" linky party.  For this linky we are sharing what a day in our classroom looks like.  I hope you enjoy hearing about our day; I know I love seeing how other teachers plan their days and how education is not "cookie cutter".

Morning Work:
My students arrive between 7:30 and 8:00, during this time they unpack, work on morning work (usually Accelerated Math or Math review), go to the library, take Accelerated Reader test, etc. We are required to stand outside out doors to greet the students and parents.  I usually work on grading homework during this time or put grades in the online grade book.  I have a cart I place my laptop on to work on grades and to collect homework.

Our reading block begins between 8:15-8:30, depending on our school announcements (they are on the tv) and the amount of morning work assigned.  We begin our lesson with a phonics lesson, based on the rule our grade level spelling words follow.

I then move onto our whole group lesson and students usually add to their interactive notebook or reference back to it during instruction. We do not have text books so their interactive notebooks are their text books.  During the lesson I use the Smartboard to drive my instruction.  We are not required to write out our lesson plans in written form (six point, etc.) we do them all in Smartboard.  The first slide states the CCS and each slide afterward is step by step to our lesson.

After whole group instruction students then work in pairs or teams to dive deeper into the skill.  (You can check out my Theme or Main Idea posts for more info.)  I always incorporate some sort of cooperative learning structure, I just don't know how people teach without them!

 After whole group, students read silently, I do not use centers or stations in my classroom. As I posted earlier this school year, I follow Laura Candler's Reading Workshop you find that post HERE.  I have an amazing group of students who LOVE to read silently, they were actually whining when the timer went off today.  While students are silently reading I pull small groups to my table to work on specific skills.  A tip I learned years ago was to pull your intensive learners second.  These learners are the ones who often have difficulty staying on task in centers or silent reading, due to their struggle with reading, so if you pull them second you are breaking up their independent working time.  Therefore, providing a mental break and the ability to get up and move.

 After small group and silent reading students complete an Independent practice.  This is directly related to the skill we worked on during whole group and small group lesson. After reading my students use Head Over Heels for Teaching's Reading Response product.  (My kids LOVE these little menus!)

I have enjoyed teaching Math this year. I feel like I have a better understanding of the CCS and have challenged myself to finding and using some sort of hands on activity each day. Which is why I have started my Mathematical Monday linky :)

Our math curriculum is more of an inquiry based method.  Every Monday students work on solving a Meaningful Math Task with no front loading.  They are able to get some quickly and others can be challenging for them.  During the week we refer back to the meaningful math task as they learn more and more about the skill.

I like to incorporate math games, activities, cooperative learning, and math task cards for scoot into my lessons.  The kids really enjoy the variety of activities.  For more about my math lessons check out Monday's Mathematical Monday linky.

I do not give daily Math homework, this is the first time I have ever made that decision.  I chose not to this year because I am using more hands on activities I have noticed the students grasping the skills better than in previous years.  I do a constant spiral review for morning work and for weekly homework with my Monster Math.  Students are assigned Monster Math on Mondays and it is due Friday, this is when we go over the questions.  Having the spiral review has helped tremendously.

Yeah! We get to eat!  However, at my school we do not have duty free lunch.  We sit in the cafeteria at the "teacher table" and are frequently interrupted by students who need things opened, students tattling, loud classes, and the occasional random parent teacher conference.

I {Heart} Recess!  We are required to provide students 30 minutes of outside time each day.  This is unstructured time and the boys spend their time playing football or kickball and the girls spend their time playing on the equipment.

My class has a resource everyday except Thursdays, makes for a long day. This is the only time of day that is duty free, I get to use the restroom, check my mailbox, make copies, etc. Tuesday's we have back to back resource to provide our grade level time to meet weekly for planning purposes.  For more information on how we plan please check out my Team Planning post.


I break up my ELA block because this group needs the break.  They need a change of things every 45-50 minutes, so teaching writing directly after reading they would be in lala land or trying to continue reading their books.  We use Jivey's Mentor Sentences, my Language Pack, and work on a writing piece during the week.  I try to link a skill from the mentor sentence to the needs of my students.  For example one of the mentor sentences had a prepositional phrase, my kids were struggling with this skill so I taught a mini lesson one day and the next day my students applied it to their writing.

Science & S.S.:
I am not sure about you, but some days it is difficult to get to EVERY subject, especially with testing pressure in ELA and Math.  To try to solve this problem I alternate Science and S.S., this is not ideal but you do what you gotta do.  Some weeks I teach Science three days a week and S.S. two days, then alternate the following week.

Our Science lessons are based on my Interactive Notebooks, again we do not have text books and the ones we do have are out dated and we don't have class sets.  I also incorporate Brain Pop, Studyjams, and Youtube into my lessons along with hands on experiments or activities.

For Social Studies we study North Carolina using a variety of resources and students work on a few projects throughout the year.  

This year NC made some changes and we are now required to teach Cursive again.  I just started teaching it after break and my kids are eating it up!  They can't wait to learn the next letter, and I am impressed with how well they are doing.  This is a short lesson 10-15 minutes tops!

Read Aloud/End of the Day:
I read aloud to my kids at the end of the day because it keeps down the noise level and takes the opportunity for chaos away.  We just finished Wonder and started Number the Stars yesterday.  They LOVED Wonder and so did I!

Our contracted time is to 3:00 and kids are dismissed at 2:30.  For the 30 minutes left of my day, well my contracted day, I catch up with other teachers and staff members to debrief from my day.  Tuesdays we have Family Meetings (staff meetings), Correlate Meetings, Vertical Team Meetings, or other meetings.

After 3:00:
Mondays, Tuesdays (non-Family Meeting days), and Thursdays several teachers and I run in the neighborhood behind our school.  We started after the holidays and are up to six teachers.  I am blessed to work at a school where we are a family and support one another professionally and personally.

I hope you have enjoyed a visiting my classroom for the day!


  1. Haha...I need to use the monster math for my 8th graders I think...lol

  2. I DID enjoy the "visit" to your classroom! I enjoy reading how different classrooms "operate"!
    Crafting Connections

  3. I am always interested in how other states regulate duty and prep times. I'm sorry you don't have a duty free lunch! It may be the favorite part of my day! It sounds like your days are packed with fun and learning!

    Keep Calm and Hoot On

  4. I LOVED reading about your day! I totally agree that cooperative learning is so needed! :) You get so much accomplished and make such good use of your time. I can't believe your lunch time is in the cafeteria! That is definitely a time of the day I cherish, just enjoying time with our amazing staff! I am sorry your Thursdays are so long, but I love that you have a common planning time!

    Thanks for linking up :)


  5. I feel your pain with the lunch duty... I'm a fellow NC teacher/blogger! Thanks for the detailed info on your day! I LOVE this linky!!!
    Dirt Road Teacher

  6. We have been having the cursive debates at my school, but there just isn't room for it without a state requirement. It is amazing the differences from state to state with times/duty/etc.

    Suntans and Lesson Plans


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