Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day in My Shoes

I am linking up with one of my favorites, Katie from Adventures in Sixth Grade, for her first linky party! You know I can't turn down a good linky! This one is to share what a day in our classrooms look like. I can't wait to see what everybody else is doing when they're not blog-stalking!

Here is how it works...
1. Right click and save the button below to put in your post.

2. Share a typical day in your classroom. You can share as little or as much as you would like.
3. Go back to Katie's blog and
link up.
4. Visit the other links to see what a day is like in their class!

A couple things you should know about my day:

1.) I teach at an extended day school and our teaching time is extended by 1.5 hours, which means the actual school day is from 7:45-3:30.

2.) We are on a 4-day rotating schedule but this is kind of a blend of days because our schedule was changed this week for Grades 6-8 midterms. We had 8am exploratory every day this week and were with kids from 9-3:30, with only lunch to break up our day; exhausting!

5:00am - My alarms (I set two on my alarm clock & two on my phone because for some reason, I never hit snooze, I just shut them off) go off. Those are my warnings. I turn them off until the last one.

5:20/5:30-6:15am - Shower, get ready, check the traffic, make lunch, etc.

6:15am - I head out the door and pray for no traffic.

7:00-7:15am - I arrive to school. There's always traffic.

7:15-7:45am - My cafeteria duty begins. I had the crazy idea over the summer to take a position as a morning monitor (part of our extended day funding). The extra money will be nice in July, when I'm not getting paid, but I didn't realize how noisy and smelly it gets in there, especially when it's raining or snowing. I really don't mind it too much because I like interacting with the kids and work with a fab colleague in there, but it is a loud way to start my day.

7:45am - I pick up my students outside in their line and head to our homeroom.

7:50-8:05 - Homeroom - The kids settle in, do their lunch count, I take attendance and make my coffee, greet my kiddos, listen to their stories they want to share, and get them ready to be out the door for our first class.

8:05 - 9:05- First period Math - The students come in, get out their homework, copy the objective from the board, and begin their Headline Story, which is their "Do Now" or warmup activity, in their binders. My homework checker (a student) goes around and checks the homework - this is a lifesaver because SOMETHING always needs my attention when they first arrive. I'm usually checking emails and finishing what didn't get finished during homeroom. We then review homework, review the Headline Story, and get started on the lesson. Our lessons are very scripted and I have to follow the outline in the book. This week, we are graphing coordinates on a grid. Once the lesson is completed, the students work independently in their workbooks and I circulate to help out. At the end of the period, which is always dangerously close to the time that we start independent work, the students write down their homework, pack up, and switch classes.

9:10 - 10:10 - Second period Math - Same as first period. Whichever group ends up not being my homeroom group, is way chattier and lessons always feel more rushed.

10:15-10:30 - Recess - I have duty on Thursday, Friday, and every other Wednesday.

10:35-11:20 - "Reading Workshop" - This is our middle school intervention block. It isn't actually a workshop format but the school calls it this. 10 of my students leave for ELL and 2-3 for reading/math intervention. This leaves me with 12 kids, so there is "no teaching allowed" during this block. The students remaining read independently and track their reading in their library logs. This is the runner-up for least favorite block of the day.

11:20 - 11:50 - Math/ELA Enrichment - After reducing our Math/ELA time to make more time for Social Studies and Science, we ended up with the same amount of weekly SS & Sci, and extra Math & ELA. No idea how that worked out because my schedule proposal wasn't considered. I alternate classes (the block happens twice a week, so I see each group once) and we usually play the math games that go along with the chapter I am teaching at the time. This week we were working on our 2012 resolution maps, which I will have up here sometime this week.

11:55-12:25 - Lunch. By the time I drop the kids off to the caf, check my mail, and get back to my room, it is never enough time.

12:30-1:00 - Writing Workshop - I don't teach writing so my students get a mini-lesson during their ELA block and the independent portion happens back in their homerooms. We rotate during this block so that the ELA teacher can check in with both groups and not just the homeroom all the time. This is my least favorite block of the day and when Diet Coke starts flowing.

1:05-2:05 - Exploratory - For the first twenty minutes (again.. drop off, check mailbox, nonsense) I barely have enough time to check my emails, forget planning or sitting down to grade papers. I have 50 students and the curriculum is too much in fifth grade to get anything accomplished in this amount of time. I usually try, though. I also photocopy, set up for science, return emails, drink diet coke, make phone calls, blah, blah, blah. The second half is a mandatory team meeting with my grade level team. 98% of the time this is a major waste of a prep period. We mostly complain, listen to others complain, go to endless data meetings then never have time to look at the data again, or hear about students that we don't see. The fifth grade is split up so that each teacher has 50 students, so sometimes when names are brought up at meetings, it's not even your own student. I do like being able to check in with my colleagues but this doesn't seem like the most efficient way to do it. We have one day to ourselves, which usually means that I can get a set of tests corrected during the school day. If I'm lucky.

2:10-3:10 - Science - I teach two science blocks and the kids rotate. Two days they have SS & two days they have Sci. We start with the objective and then go right into two-column interactive notes. Sometimes they partner read and make their own, sometimes I give them a starter question or prompt and they finish it, sometimes we do a lab in a two-column format, sometimes it's just whole group teaching with activities to break it up. I should probably do a post on my interactive notebook format. I love science at this age!

3:10-3:30 - Write down HW, pack up, check agenda books (& checklists for some), kids go home at 3:30.

3:30-4:30 - I'm usually here until at LEAST 4:30 doing the usual - prep, plan, copy, email, repeat. Sometimes I get to pee for the first time all day but usually wait until I get home. This time is making up for my missed prep.

5:30 - I get home & finally get to pee. Then I make dinner & Mr. P cleans up :), hang with Mr. P, snuggle with my cat, blog-stalk, wedding plan, correct papers, read for grad classes, repeat. Depending on the night, I either have Weight Watchers (that reminds me I need to check in for my 2012 resolutions!) or our small group bible study.

I try to get to bed at a decent hour, but I am such a night owl.

I hope I'm not too "complainy". I DESPISE my schedule this year because it just doesn't work. There is too much time where kids are working independently on something that doesn't correleate to what I teach and not enough time spent on what I do teach. I am only actively teaching for 3 hours a day (anyone notice that?) and no one seemed to be too concerned with that when I brought it up to admin. We've already changed our schedule once this year and I think it's worse than what we started with. 

I am SO excited to see what everyone's day looks like!! Maybe I can use it to help me convince the powers to change our schedule!


  1. Your schedule is very confusing to me. I don't get it. :) :) And I can't believe how long your day is. Is your extended day schedule part of a public school or a charter school?
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  2. Oh, Miss P!
    This seems like suuuuuuuuch a long and difficult day! It didn't sound like you were complaining--it sounded like crazy people made your schedule!
    I'm glad you like to teach science. I'm ready to learn whatever you offer--my kids always yawn when I say, "Time for science."

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. That sure is a crazy schedule! I had never heard of this extended day thing before. We go to school every day from 7:50-3:35 too and it is not considered extended. It sure makes for a long day!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Miss Klohn
    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  4. Your schedule seems pretty crazy! I used to work at an extended day school and I actually liked it better than where I am at now. I only have about 35 minutes per day with each of my math and science classes! I would LOVE to see some of your interactive notebooks!! PLease share :)
    To The Square Inch

  5. Tag, you're it! Come play Bloggy TAG! :-)

  6. Hi there,
    I like your blog...glad I found you. Cute blog title. I will have to pop in more often and see what you are up to. Come on over and visit me sometime too.
    Laughter and Happily Ever After

  7. Oh dear...we have an extended day as well. 735-340. Good news....weare now out for summer break! I teach a combined 5/6 class, self contained except specials. You're schedule would kill me!