Saturday, 15 August 2015

Daily Schedule - Guided Reading {What is the Rest of the Class Doing?}

I have done several posts so far about what I do with my guided reading groups and how I schedule that time. You can read those posts {here}, {here}, or {here}. Today I am going to share what the rest of the class is doing while I am working with a reading group. Here's a look at my daily schedule. Each group goes to to rotations a day (about 15 minutes each). I pull a different reading group during each rotation. At the end of the day I just move the station cards down to the next group. You can find my Guided Reading cards {here}.

I do my own version of Daily 5. I have four stations: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading. I don't do Read to Someone because we do this during Buddy Reading. I do allow students to read with each other during Read to Self time though. Some students enjoy this; others would prefer to read by themselves. I let them choose. I split up my students into four groups of mixed abilities. I write these groups on the group cards. I only change these groups a few times a year (unless there are personality conflicts with some students).

Because I see each of my reading groups a different number of times per week, I don't put myself as a rotation. I put my card at the bottom and use my animal group labels (get those at the bottom of this post) to show which groups I will be pulling that day. If I don't want to pull a group and just want to do some individual running records, I won't put anything that day! This makes it very easy to be flexible with my time. So the students that I pull for reading groups will miss their activity that rotation, but they'll get to do that one again in two days so it's not usually a big deal.

Here are a few ideas of what the students are doing during each of these rotations. The following pictures are a mixture from my last three years in first grade--three different classrooms, three different schools, but similar set ups. Once I get my new Science Lab room set up, I'll show you how each of these areas will be set up this year.

Each of my students gets a book bin. In their book bin they keep about 3-4 guided reading books from our guided reading time. These books are on level and have been previously read with me. I switch these books out as we read more in our groups. They also keep up to 5 books from the classroom library. These are purely interest books. Even though I do have the level on each book in my classroom library, students are not required to pick books at their own level. I also let my students switch their books out anytime they are on Read to Self. I don't seem to have any problems with students wasting their whole time picking books--they are usually pretty quick to pick their books and get reading!

Another station is work on writing. In the past I have done this mostly as free choice writing in their journals. This year my plan is to focus on printing practice the first month or two of school. Students will have a printing book they will work on; then there will be some fun letter formation activities to do when they are done a page or two (such as car tracing letters, dry erase pages/books, Wikki Stiks, etc.). Then once students are more familiar with the routines, I will start to introduce journals and some other writing options (such as letters to classmates, lists, stories, etc.). 

I plan to keep word work the same as in the past. I have about 8 or 9 activities available at a time and students can choose whichever activity they would like to do for that rotation. They must complete the activity and clean it up before moving to a new activity. I will use my shelving unit below to house the different options. I fill these tubs with a variety of games and centres that focus on letter names/sounds, sight words, or other phonics skills. You can find a variety of word work activities in my store {here}. I change the centres out whenever I feel an activity is not getting picked or I want students to work on a different skill.

This is Dot the Letters from my Back 2 School Word Work Centres.

Letter formation with play-dough is always a popular activity.

Zingo! is a fun word recognition game.

You can read in more detail about how I set up my listening station {here} or {here}. But the main idea is that I have 6 mp3 players and about 80 different books. I put all the books on all the mp3 players, so students choose a book to listen to, grab an mp3 player, find the numbered track, and listen to the story. If they finish the story? Get a new story and listen to that one. I don't do response sheets or anything. The listening part is the valuable lesson and it would probably take most of them the whole 15 minutes to complete a response! I keep each mp3 player and headphones in a separate basket and all the books in one basket.

I let all of my students choose where they want to work during this time--tables, floors, classroom library. Where ever they are comfortable. Someone reading to self can sit beside someone doing word work, as long as they are both doing their job! This system has been working for me for a couple of years now and I can't wait to get it up and running again next time!

I'll be back with Guided Math time next! :) See you soon.


  1. I love the way you set up rotations!!! Thanks for sharing your ELA time, I have many good ideas from you. Happy Saturday!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. This seems manageable and engaging.

  3. You've made a really nice and comfortable schedule to work for you and to your students. I like this dividing into four groups. This way while you're working with one other children are busy. We essay writing companies reviews in our office have an interesting schedule, too.