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My Full-Day Kindergarten Schedule... And How I Fit It ALL In!

So, you’ve been hired to teach full-day kindergarten and don’t know where to start?
This was me 8 years ago, so I thought I would break down what our day looked like, as it was, last school year.
This year, I will only change a few things, as I typically do when the district makes changes/additions,
as well as to meet the needs of my current students.

8:05-8:25 Morning Warm Up/Morning Message

This is a time I take to build routine into our school day immediately. Typically, my students check
in using their lunch cards under a picture in a pocket chart. Our district provides a “hot” or “cold”
option for students to choose from, and the pictures of each meal really help to make the
decision-making run smoothly. After choices have been made and backpacks are in cubbies,
we do our Morning Message, which helps us practice many skills.
(More on the Morning Message coming in next post!) I also quickly run through routines of our
morning workstations during this time and take attendance. 

8:30-9:20 Workstations

Workstations (centers) look different all year long as our class grows and changes.
Typically, we do four centers a day, rotating every 12-15 minutes or so. I have a teacher
iPad that I set timers on, which helps us run on schedule, and keeps me and my para (aide)
on schedule as well. I also use a doorbell for them to freeze with for each step.
(1st bell - listen for instructions, 2nd bell-clean up and stand behind chair, 3rd bell-
move to next station). After routines and procedures have been taught, I usually have
the same 4 types of centers:
*Word work (working on sight word(s) of the week)
*Letter sound practice (focus skill of the week)
*Writing (journals are free choice, or I provide a scaffolded sentence stem to help with ideas)
*iPad station (our ELA curriculum is connected to Clever, so I typically assign activities
related to the current or past units)
All of these workstations have the materials ready at a specific table, and each group rotates
one table clockwise at each rotation switch.

If they do not finish, I am not stressed, because my main goal is for them to be practicing skills.
If it is an activity I am going to collect, they put it in their group box, which rotates with each group. 
I will also explain the organization of the centers in a future post.

**It is also during this time that I am pulling students for Guided Reading groups.
They are coming out of different table groups, which is why I don’t give them “projects”
during this time,as they might miss this.**

We then go to recess for 18 minutes on the kindergarten playground. Our paraprofessionals/aides
supervise during this time, while teachers have a break/time to set up the next activity. 

9:40-10:30 ELA/Phonics Instruction

We then come in and go straight into ELA/Phonics instruction. One of the ways my team and I
have made our ELA/Phonics lessons more powerful over the years is by creating Google Slides
to go along with each lesson in our curriculum. It sure beats trying to pull out each picture card,
letter flashcards, etc. every day! All we have to do is load it on our screens, and teach from there! 

10:30-11:25 Math Instruction/Activities

The longer I teach kindergarten, the more I see the need for students to have math manipulatives
in their hands! Typically, before I use a specific tool for our math lessons, I will have a time of
exploration with the tool/manipulative with my class. This allows them time to understand the purpose
of the tool, but also provides them with more focused use of the manipulative when used for a
specific activity. We also do fluency activities, and a few math videos to practice counting and
other Core Standards math skills. We especially love Jack Hartmann and HeidiSongs. 

11:30-12:08 Lunch 

At our school, lunch is supervised by our paraprofessionals, and by yard duties,
making teacher lunches duty-free. 

12:10-1:00 Free Choice Play/ELD Groups

I am fortunate enough to work for a district that values the power of “play”
in our kindergarten classrooms. So, every day, we provide almost an hour of structured
play to our students, while also providing our ELD students with intentional ELD support
provided through our ELA curriculum.

What do I mean by “structured play?” I just mean that I pull out a few activities for
students to choose from and set group limits, so groups don’t get too big. A typical Free Choice
time includes:
*STEM bins
*Paint/art/coloring←-- one of our most popular, year after year
*Car rug/cars
*Wooden trains and tracks
*Lego Table

It is during this time that students really work on social skills, independence, problem solving,
and so much more. 

1:00-1:20 Recess
(Paraprofessionals are on duty, teachers can prep and/or take a quick break)

1:20-1:50 Social Skills, Social Studies, Art, Yoga, P.E., Science, or Writing

This is the one that rotates on a daily basis.

Social Skills: Our district uses Second Step for our Social Skills curriculum. I will also tend
to supplement using books that are relevant to the topics we are discussing and learning about
during this time. We do a lot of problem solving activities for this, which pays off during
Structured Play time!

Social Studies:  Our district uses Studies Weekly for Social Studies, which we try to align to our
ELA curriculum.

Art: This is either a thematic or phonics-based activity that we didn’t have time for in the
morning (sometimes you CAN’T fit it in, and that’s ok!!).

Yoga: There are SO many benefits to doing yoga, and not just for adults! I have a few
“Yoga for kids” activities on DVD, but we really like Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube. We also
get to count this as P.E. time!

P.E.: I teach my students simple tasks, such as passing a ball, hopscotch, jump rope, and more. 

Science: Currently, we do a lot of our Science in a whole group setting, but this year, we will be
looking at different options for Science curriculum, so I’ll report back when the year is over.

Writing: Although we do Morning Message and journals in the morning, sometimes we work
on more advanced and rigorous writing skills in the afternoon. 

1:50-2:10 Wrap Up/Music/Story

We have a few bus riders and after school program participants in our class each year,
so I try to not do too many activities during the time they are not in our class. When they have left
our class, we typically will review what we have learned, read a short story, or sing songs and dance.
This is an easy way to review standards taught, but not exclude those who are missing from
any new learning. 

Here is a graphic for you to save if you want the bare-bones schedule without the gory details of what
our day looks like.
Just right-click and save!

Are you feeling less stressed? I hope I’ve helped you better understand what a full day
in kindergarten looks like in my classroom. As always, please feel free to email me if you have
any questions! Happy planning!

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