My Literacy Block Schedule

I get a lot of emails asking about my schedule at school.  Since last year was my first year teaching 5th grade Reading/ELA using a guided group model, I tried a lot of different schedules.  I changed it around quite a bit, but I finally got it down to an art by the end of the school year.  I modeled it after my guided math schedule that I followed when I taught 4th grade math.  Let’s get a few things out there… I teach reading, writing, and grammar.  This year, our writing will be incorporated into our reading.  I’ll tell you a little more about that later.  My grammar instruction is usually about 30 minutes each day.  I have NOT included it here since it’s not really part of my literacy block.  I have about and hour and half for my literacy block each day.

I ALWAYS finish the day with binder work and a read aloud of some sort.  Most of the time, it is a novel that we are reading together.  The binder work is when the students take a few minutes to organize their binder, fill out any necessary forms to be turned in, and finish anything not completed.  I have learned a little through trial and practice and will post a blog post soon where I REVEAL ALL about my literacy binders…. the good, bad, and ugly!

Mondays are one of my two whole group days.  I use this day to distribute my homework for the week, have the kids write the entire week in their agenda, go over my expectations for the homework, introduce our vocabulary/spelling words, have a big whole group lesson for our weekly skills,  and conduct individual reading conferences with students on my conferring list while they read to self for about 25 minutes.  Individual reading conferences is something I want to get better about doing.  I did it last year, but not near as much as I wanted to.  I will also be using some of this time to complete running records on my students.  I purchased the Progress Monitoring packet from Hello Literacy that I plan to use to progress monitor my students.  We use FAST reading and math as a school level, but I am wanting to progress monitor some of my students myself so they can track their progress in their goals section in their literacy binder.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays:
These three days are spent reviewing our homework from the previous night, having a short 15-25 minute mini-lesson about our weekly skill, and meeting with small groups for three rotations.  What I do in small group really depends on what our skill is for the week.  We may do some reading response, close reading activity, or vocabulary instruction.

During my three rotations, my students are reading to self, word work, work on writing, or reading to someone.  This year, our work on writing will look VERY different.  Writing will now be incorporated into reading.  What does this mean for my classroom?  A lot of their writing will be connected to their reading in some way.  This is new to me, so I’m not sure exactly how this will look.  All I know is that our writing test is now incorporated into our reading test.

Last year, my students completed a weekly assessment that went along with our weekly skill from the week.  I downloaded the reading passages from here {FREE} and created my own questions to go along with them.  A lot of times, I used 3-4 from those already listed, but I added a lot of my own that required the students to go back to the text to support their answer with evidence.  By the end of the school year, this was something my students were experts at.

However, this year is going to be different.  I am still going to assess my students, but I am going to try to vary the way I do it.  One of the #1 feedback comments I received at the end of the year from my students was that they would have liked more projects.  So, I am going to try and incorporate more book reports {in a fun way} and other ways to assess my students.  I’m going to focus on doing more showing rather than telling.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to assess my students with paper and pencil, but I am going to try and limit it to no more than every OTHER week.  I believe that by the end of the school year, the students became very bored with our weekly assessments (ahhh… shucks!).

BTW- the kiddos commented that their two favorite activities were our Hatchet projects and my text structure unit.  Say what?  Text structure?  I thought that was very interesting!

Hopefully this has helped you see how to incorporate components of the Daily 5 into your intermediate literacy block.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

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Classroom Management, reading, Writing
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  • Reply
    July 9, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Terri – thank you so much for writing this post! I'm moving to 4th after Kindergarten this year and I'm excited but a little overwhelmed. You plan makes so much sense and it really helps to see how others organize their literacy block in the upper grades. It definitely gave me some ideas and inspiration for the upcoming school year!!


  • Reply
    Terri Thornton
    July 11, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Thank you for your kind words. You just really have to take and give what works for you. At first, I wanted to model my schedule exactly the way it was presented in the Daily 5 book. That so did not happen! It just wasn't practical for me. You are going to love 4th grade! I taught 4th grade math for 5 years before moving to 5th grade reading/ELA.

    Good Luck!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2014 at 4:24 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2014 at 4:25 am

    Great post! 🙂 Can you explain what you intend to go over during individual conferences and how many you usually get to in that period of time?
    Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Terri Thornton
    July 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I plan to listen to them read for a short time (30-60 seconds), talk about a reading strategy they have been working on (based on previous conferences), talk about their goals and progress (fluency, AR, etc.). I hope this helps.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    How do you group your kids? How many kids in each group? My team member and I are trying to wrap our heads around how the three rotations work. Are they ten minutes each? Do they do the same thing everyday? Do they go through all three rotations each day? HELP US! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 4, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      I would love to know more about how your rotations work, too! I teach 5th ELA in Gwinnett and am (still!) struggling with how to fit it all in.

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