At parent-teacher conferences, I’m often asked what you do with 25 1st graders all day long. Or parents ask me just how much time is devoted to the different subjects I teach.
While there is no such thing as a typical day in my class, I am required to cover a variety of subjects so my students stay at or above 1st grade standards. These levels are determined by Common Core State Standards, and are they are now part of the general law of most states.
In an effort to help parents understand the amount of time and effort that goes into each of our 1st grade subjects, I offer the following outline of a typical day in my classroom. A similar schedule most likely is happening in your child’s 1st grade class.
Our school day starts at 9:05, when students arrive. After I take a quick attendance and lunch count, the rest of the morning is devoted to instructional time.
- 9:15 a.m.-10:55 a.m. is our literacy block. This primarily includes phonics, reading, and writing instruction.
- 10:55 a.m.-11:40 a.m. is our intervention block. This is where small groups of students receive reading instruction at their appropriate reading level. While small groups are working with me, the other groups are busy with “station rotation” where they are listening to stories on headphones, word building, doing fine motor activities, or working on the computers. This is where students rotate leadership roles, as each week a different student “captain” essentially runs the group not working with me.
- 11:40 a.m. - 11:55 a.m. begins our content block. Content is when we often do social studies or science. It’s introduced during these first minutes then continued after lunch.
- 11:55 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. is lunch; 12:20 p.m. -12:35 p.m. is recess.
- 12:35 p.m. - 1:10 p.m. Content continues.
- 1:10 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Is math time. This involves some whole group, small group, computer, and math game work.
- 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. is for itinerant subjects ("specials"), each on a different day (music, art, physical education, and library)
As you can see, we cover a lot of ground during the day! We also try to have a little fun with math or phonics games, funny stories, and shared writing. So the next time your 1st grader is really tired…you’ll understand why!