Monday, July 2, 2012

Half-Day Schedule...yikes!

The last 5 years I have taught full day kindergarten so this was a challenge to think about!  Before I taught full day I taught half day for a while but for some reason my brain refuses to remember how I fit it all in.  Actually, the demands on kindergarten have increased and the expectations are higher, but I know that it can be done and done well because I know many teachers who do it.  I am determined to help my students achieve just as much as full day students!! Here is what we have come up with for our half-day schedule this year.

8:45-8:50 - Sign-in, announcements, question of the day
8:50-9:10 - Whole group math lesson
9:10-9:35 - Math Stations
9:35-9:45 - Phonemic Awareness/Phonics Focus
9:45-10:05 - Writing Workshop (modeled write to and independent writing)
10:05-10:20 - Read Aloud/Literature Focus
10:20-11:00 - Literacy Centers
11:00-11:15 - Predictable Chart/ Big Book
11:15-11:30 - Songs/Closure

Obviously this will be the same as above but we start at 12:45 and dismiss at 3:30.

I know what you are thinking, how in the world can you do sign-in, announcements and question of the day in 5 minutes!  I probably cannot but, we plan on lining up a few minutes early in the morning and when they do come in the announcements are usually going (kinders have such a hard time understanding what they are talking about) while we are signing in and then as soon as they are finished signing their name they can go to the pocketchart and answer the question of the day on their own.  I know that at first this will take longer than 5 minutes but hopefully they will get better at it and become quicker.

The whole group math lesson usually consists of a book that helps to support the math concept, number talks and/or a whole group game.  I think that I will read a math book Mon. and Wed. and do number talks Tues. and Thurs..  Fridays are different because I generally do not do literacy centers on that day so I can use them to cover a math topic that we need more work on or allow the kids some choice time (art, blocks, games) that they usually do not get to do.

On top of changing to half-day this year we are also starting a new reading program (Scott Foresman Reading Street) so I am also trying to fit in the most important components.  I think that during the read aloud time I will introduce the focus wall for the week with the amazing words (new vocabulary) and sight words for the week.  Hopefully, this will take the longest on Mondays and the rest of the week we can just review the focus wall so I have time to introduce story elements too.

I will pull small groups during literacy centers (once the are established) and I am going to try to fit 3 rotations in.  I don't have an exact amount of time that I have the students stay at each center I usually play it by ear but most of the time they are between 10 and 15 minutes.

I really like to use predictable charts and big books to reinforce sight words and reading strategies.  I do a predictable chart one week and the next week I read one big book for the whole week.  I follow the routine laid out in:

This is a great resource and I used to keep it very close, until I had it memorized!  There is also a book just for the predictable charts:
Basically, I dictate a sentence from each student (it contains the word(s) we are working on) and the child signs his/her name at the end of the sentence.  After we are done with the chart and the activities that go along with it we cut the sentences apart and glue them to a paper so that each child can illustrate his/her page and then we compile all of the pages and make a class book.  The first two words introduced in our reading series are I and am so our first predictable chart will be  "I am _____________."  Each child will complete the sentence by adding his/her name.  Very simple but perfect for the first week of school!  I set aside 15 minutes for this each day which is perfect because you break it down into segments so the kids do not become too antsy!

We have our lunch and prep back to back from 11:30-12:45.  We have never had specials (not even when we were full day) and I am not sure when we can fit in a recess.  The morning students are allowed on campus 15 minutes before school starts so they will get to go on the playground before school but, the afternoon students do not get that so I really need to figure out how to get them outside for a little bit.  I think that recess time is really important!  Maybe as time goes I will discover how to sneak it in.

If you can think of something that I have left out please let me know!  Whew!!  I am tired just thinking about this:)


  1. I love your schedule Michele! I think you did a great job of fitting everything in. I like how you were able to squeeze in so much math-I am really getting nervous about that part of my day. I guess we will probably both be tweaking our schedules throughout the year as we see what works! I am jealous of your big break between classes-I only get a half hour for lunch between my a.m. and p.m. class and that is really tough- makes it hard to get ready for the p.m. class and eat lunch at the same time (and of course it is never a full 30 minutes once you get all of the a.m. kids on their busses, etc.). I do get 25 minutes in the a.m. and p.m. for specials though-which I think is nice for the kids and for me. Keep posting your half-day ideas!
    Keen on Kindergarten

  2. Wow-that's quite a change to get used to. I think your plan for Reading Street is a good one-that's what we do, spend the most time on Mondays introducing everything. I couldn't imagine squeezing everything in a few hours and then having to do it all over again! I wish you the best of luck-sounds like you definitely have a plan!


  3. Do you have specials or recess? I like your ideas!

    1. Hi Chrissy, no we do not have specials:( I wish we did. We only have a short recess when the students first arrive. Of course the first week of school I am sure I will be sneaking in a few more!

  4. Great minds do think alike:) I always have great intentions of doing more big books, but get off track after the first few months of school. What are some of the big books you use?

    1. Hi Janelle, I bought some sight word big books from Lakeshore a few years back and I really like those! They are perfect because they have large print at the bottom of the page and they contain the words I am working on. I also like Cookie's Week, I Went Walking and Brown Bear.


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