I try to think deeply about what my life would be like if I was given more freedom than I currently have to run my classroom the way I would like. I know that I have TONS of autonomy at this point, but due to the relationship with a teacher prep program, my awesome big people/student teachers need to teach in a somewhat more typical format to progress in the program. So with that said, here’s a “typical” format for me:
Welcomes, Learning Log, Revision, Unit Work, Exit Ticket
Welcomes: Students arrive to my lovely classroom and choose which kind of chair they would like to sit in (rolling office chair, saucer chair, typical school chair) and move furniture to sit in their zone. They are greeted with hellos and welcomes from not only their teachers but also their peers. If applicable, students receive a handwritten thank you note about their leadership contributions to class and other peer-nominated recognitions and accomplishments. (The students get VERY excited about these notes, usually thank the class for the acknowledgement, and then carefully place the cards into their folders to bring home.) Students transition to the Learning Log portion of the class as they have settled into the community.
Learning Log: Students have a weekly yellow Learning Log (LL). (I have it color coded so it is easily spotted in bags and on tables and resist using yellow for other handouts.) I then sing, yes, I said sing, the names of the kiddos that have retrieved their LL and have started to record the topic for the day and started the Do Now. The topic is a student-friendly objective truncation and finishes the questions “How do we…” or “Why do we…” The Do Now, oh the Do Now, is a short prompt, usually to review a skill from previous units (and then is evaluated for accuracy) or a primer for the upcoming lesson/topic/unit (and is evaluated for completion). Students earn a stamp to show they have successful met the day’s requirements of the Dow Now and students may move on to the next agenda item. Do Nows are not timed, but rather students move on when they have finished the requirement.
Revision Work: I am a HUGE believer of students make significantly more progress when they receive feedback from previous work and then have a structured way to make revisions. While I have days dedicated to revision (and are called the super original name of “revision day”) for longer assignments or projects, I like to have the transitional time between the LL to the unit work dedicated to help students iron out misconceptions and errors, and build confidence before moving forward with the new material. Students receive the previous day’s exit ticket or work with written feedback (not advice) with the question “do you want to revise this work?” Students look over their work, read their work and feedback, and then decide if they want to revise. I’ve yet to have a student say no if there was anything that could be improved. But I always pose it as a question, a choice, so students have more power in their world. Students correct their work, write about how their new work shows improvement on each standard, and independently complete an alternative form of the same assignment. All of the pieces get bundled together and reassessed. During the revision process are able (and encouraged) to seek help from any person, book, anchor chart, or previous work in the room. (I am still working on how to have students use the internet as a resource.) Students don’t want the answers from one another because of the whole explain-your-improvements and now-do-a-similar-problem situation but they do request explanations and they make up problems together to practice the skill on their own. (And, does it make me excited to see when they make up their own problems to practice.) Once the kiddos have turned in their revision work, they move onto the unit work.
Unit Work: Once students have transitioned from their LL and revisions, they are ready for continuing their work on their unit mastery! I try to have a 3+ day string of mastery check points. Everything gets bundled together, with explores and practices, everything color coded by part so that students may see where they are in terms of the progression and timeline. Students move at their pace, to a point, through the material. The students are given an approximate timeline with a bit of extra flex time built in. The students read through objectives and standards and look at the Criteria for Success and exemplars. They ask questions and find resources to help them move through the tasks, seeking mastery. The tasks change depending on the day and unit but the students move forward.
Exit Ticket: With roughly 7 minutes left in class, it’s Exit Ticket Time! Private think time happens in the lovely room 054 and students work independently on the exit task. If the students have more time before the end of class, students return to their unit work. Students pass in their ET and say their goodbyes for the day as they leave.
That’s a typical day in my room! Huzzah!