Let me start by sharing my basic routine for reading and writing each day. I have my class split into 3 leveled reading groups. (I named mine basketball teams to go with my sports theme!) Honestly, I thought I would have 4 groups- because that is what I was used to. My school wanted us to try three and so far it is really working!!!
We start our reading block with a mini lesson on the carpet. (I'll tell you a lot more about those mini lessons in a future post!) At the end of the mini lesson, I always give the students something to be looking for or thinking about while they are reading independently that day.
After the mini lesson, we do our center rotations. We have 3 centers that the kids work at for about 20 minutes each. I have a pocket chart that shows the groups which order they do the centers in. (But they memorize the order quickly!)
Here are the centers:
Independent: Read to Self
Technology: Online (and on their level!) lessons through a program called i-Ready. We have only done the diagnostic testing so far, so the kiddos have been working on Spelling City during this center.
Meet the Teacher: Interactive reading journals (more on those later!), choral reading, i-Ready lessons, etc.
After the rotations, my kiddos do their word work centers using their spelling and vocabulary words. We have lots of fun centers and the students can choose whichever center they like best! I will be writing and entire post on these centers!
At this point the students meet up with their Peanut Butter and Jelly partners (leveled partners from their reading groups) to share what they were reading during independent reading time that day. They take turns discussing whatever we learned about during our mini lesson. Listening in during this share time is a great way to informally assess their understanding of the skill taught.
After a quick restroom and healthy snack break, we move right into our writing block. We start our block on the carpet for a mini lesson. The mini lesson often includes a mentor text. (A lot more about where I get these lessons in a later post!) At the end of the mini lesson, I give the students a skill to be working on during their writing time. I rarely give a writing prompt. Students then head back to their desk to work on whichever stage in the writing process they are. We have really taken our time learning the steps in the process and it has paid off! I don't have one single student who is struggling to find something to write about! (This was NOT the case in my class last year!)
I am loving my writing binders this year! (Of course, you will have to stay tuned for more details!) I also love our revising and editing procedures. The kids are actually taking the time to do a good job! We haven't gotten there yet, but I also have some fun ideas for publishing their work this year!
While they write, I have conferences with students. This is when we talk about their writing goal. I am using my clip chart and mini posters. LOVE!
The students have approximately 35 minutes to write. Then they get to meet up with their Peanut Butter and Jelly partner to share what they worked on and ask for suggestions if needed. They love the opportunity to share their writing with somebody everyday!
And after 2 hours and 45 minutes of reading and writing- we finally get a recess and lunch break!
This was just an overview! Make sure you follow my blog as I am writing more specific posts about things I mentioned today (and will be including links to some amazing products that help make my ELA block so successful!). Stay tuned...