We are using a new program this year called Fundations. I know only a little bit about it, but what I've seen, I really like! The only problem is, we somehow have to find an extra 30 minutes in our day for whole group Fundations lessons.
Which brings me back to the Edutopia post. Something I read there really has me thinking:
I love my calendar/morning meeting time! But I want to make sure I am using that time for real learning, and the best use of that time.Consider the example of calendar time. In many U.S. early elementary classrooms, this practice eats up 15-20 minutes daily, often in a coveted early-morning slot when students are fresh and attentive. Some calendar time activities may be worthwhile. For example, teachers might use this time for important teaching around grouping and place value. But other activities are questionable at best. For example, is the following routine still effective if it's already February and your students still don't know:Yesterday was _______.
Today is _______.
Tomorrow will be _______,Does dressing a teddy bear for the weather each day make optimal use of instructional time? Some teachers respond, "But we love our teddy bear, and it only takes a few minutes!" But three minutes a day for 180 days adds up to nine hours. Children would also love engineering design projects, deep discussions of texts they've read, or math games.
In thinking about that. These are the things I am keeping:
Pledge (1 minute): It's how we start our day. Every day.
Rules Review (1 minute): I have the teacher's helper come up and review the rules. We have 4 rules (with hand motions).
1.Follow directions the first time.
2. Raise your hand at the table, raise your hand at the carpet.
3. We don't hurt people and we don't hurt things.
4. Keep Mrs. B. happy!
Sign In Check (2 minutes): This is where I check to see if everyone remembered to sign in in the morning. We use sign in tickets to sign in each day. They put their ticket onto a pocket chart, depending on what kind of milk they want for snack. As I call their name, they sit down from the pledge. It keeps them accountable for remembering to sign in every day.
You can see the sign in pocket chart on the right in this picture. It is near our carpet area.
Helpers 1 minute: I recognize who the helpers are each day. I use my helper cards throughout the year during group time for number sentences and graphing.
Calendar 2 minutes: We count the calendar, and figure out what will be on the calendar card based on the pattern for the month.
How many days 3 minutes: I start out with a 100's chart, and then add the rest of the numbers after the 100th day of school. I print this chart on magnet paper (see below). We use a round magnet to move it each day. After the 100th day, we also keep track of how many days of school we have left
Quick Number Sense Activity 5 minutes: Number of the day activities that get more difficult as the year goes on. I've done them like the picture below, and also with our smart board.
Morning Message 10 minutes: We do so many things with our morning message. Read it together, circle letters and sight words, write missing letters and words, look for things like "king of ing" and "star of ar", look for mistakes in capitalization and reversals. It is the place I can always talk about things I am seeing in their writing and reading.
Math Problem 10 minutes: We do a problem each day using the name of the "Teacher's Helper" of the day. I have 2 people solve the problem on the board, and 2 solve it on the morning message, while the rest of the class works on it in partners and groups on the carpet. We then talk about how we solved it, who had similar strategies and what our thinking was. My favorite part of group time!
Story 10 minutes: Read and talk about a book.
That's 45 minutes. I took out all the extras I could...but I think this is the important stuff. What do you think?