Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Schedule Struggle

As a sub, I have been in a lot of classrooms and worked within many schedules. I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect schedule. There is just too much to try to fit into any day and too many things grade levels have to share. And I don't think adding time to the day is the answer either. I think we would just jam pack any amount of time given to us.

That being said, I am sharing my favorite schedule I have worked within as a part of Charity Preston's Name That Schedule Linky on The Organized Classroom Blog. This schedule was for a third grade classroom.

I'll start with the parts I liked. I like that the morning started with Intervention/Enrichment. This was a time when I called those sweetie pies to my desk who needed the extra help. We would alternate subjects so on Monday and Wednesday we would do extra reading help, and on Tuesday and Thursday we did math help. The school required that interventions be data driven and research-based. The other kiddos were allowed a choice time of finishing incomplete work or enrichment activities. In case you were wondering, Fridays were left for class meetings or buddy class activities (once a month). This intervention time was a nice way to ease into the day and gave some time in addition to the standard reading and math groups to provide some extra instruction.

I also like that there were natural transitions provided by the times for leaving the classroom (specials, lunch, and recess). I always find it more difficult for students to switch gears without a physical separation, even though I use brain breaks and other transitions. Those natural breaks also provide nice breaks for the students. The active times of the day were spread out.

And I truly enjoyed that there was time for read-aloud built in to every day. Even when we often stayed out a little extra at recess, there was still time to wind down with a little read aloud time. That read aloud time also provided a nice incentive for the students to get packed up quickly since I always told them that I would read when everyone was ready on the carpet.

Most of the parts I didn't like are problems with any schedule.. mainly there is never enough time. We were always rushing during that short science/social studies block. And we had so much trouble getting in everything during the reading and writing time, that the team agreed that each reading story would be done for two weeks, with one week focusing on the reading skills and the other on the writing skills.

My other problem with the schedule (and every schedule I have worked with) is that math always seems to be in the afternoon. In my experience, afternoons are much more difficult as students are getting tired and just kind of done paying attention. I started switching things up occasionally and doing math in the morning so I could capitalize on the times when students were more focused. Thank goodness I was teaching in a district that allowed flexibility.

So, there you have it. The good, the bad, and the ugly (as Charity says) of my favorite schedule.

Go see what other's have to say about scheduling at Charity's linky party on The Organized Classroom Blog.

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