Imagine being a brand new puppy in a home for the first day. You don’t know the routines or the language and you are separated from everything familiar. How would you feel? Many kindergarteners have some of these same feelings. They don’t know the routines or classroom schedule yet. The words we use may have different meanings from words used at home and they are separated from their parents and siblings for the day. We want to make the children feel comfortable, happy and super excited about the kindergarten classroom and learning. One of my favorite ways to do this is through a consistent classroom schedule that is predictable and fun. Let me outline the way I schedule my Kindergarten litter….OOPS…..I mean classroom.
Entering And Opening – 9:05-9:15
Know where you want your students to line up when the bell rings and how you want them to enter the classroom and where you want them to put their backpack, supplies, notes, etc. Do you want them to do something at their seat or start right away? We start at our tables and listen to announcements, take attendance and make our lunch choices. After announcements we come right to the carpet.
Carpet Time (Review of Skills) – 9:15-9:30
This is our calendar block when we work on all kinds of reading, math and handwriting skills (something different each day but the routine stays the same). We practice our handwriting on white boards using letters and sight words and we practice math skills such as solving a story problem on the white boards. I read a story at this time as well. Sometimes we’ll do flashcard drills – quick and easy.
Reading Group – 9:30-10:30
I have 4 Reading Groups that I call over to my Teacher Table during this time (a different group every 15 minutes). Meanwhile my other groups are doing Seat Work then Centers or working on a Reading Program on i-pads. If you want to know how I run Centers or get ideas of activities I might use for Centers, this post will be helpful:
Recess – 10:30-10:45
Math Block – 10:45-11:45
So I have tried to run my math block during different times of the day. I found that right before lunch worked well because math tends to be a little more active but also requires listening skills. My kids were always tired right after lunch so I found that doing math earlier in the day allowed for better listening and work. No more throwing math manipulatives across the classroom (just kidding – that would NEVER happen – right?). Our district has a math program that we follow. But I add additional math activities throughout the day during Centers and Carpet Time.
Lunch – 11:45-12:45
Part of this hour is getting ready to go to lunch. This feels a little more like herding puppies at the beginning of the year (you have been warned).
Rest Time – 12:45-1:00
This is NOT nap time! Although sometimes I wish I could take a nap. I usually have a learning video on or PBS Kids and I’m using ESGI and testing kids at my Teacher Table or working with kids or helping them solve recess issues! It’s my one time of the day that I can actually have one on one time with kids and can really listen to them without needing to be with the entire class teaching. Kindergarten teachers out there know exactly what I mean!
Writing Block – 1:00-1:45
This is our time to calm things down and do quiet writing time. To be honest, it’s never REALLY quiet but it’s a quieter time (emphasis on the “ER” part of that word). I love listening to children helping each other sound out words and think through writing skills. We are learning how to label pictures at the beginning of the year then we move into Opinion Writing, Informational Writing and Narrative Writing (in that order) throughout the school year. Here are some resources that help me teach Opinion Writing and Informational Writing:
Science or Social Studies Block – 1:45-2:30
I often incorporate Science and Social Studies throughout my day especially during Centers and Writing. I’m either teaching a Science unit or a Social Studies unit but not usually both at the same time. On Fridays this is my Art Block as well. Also, if my specials last an hour we are using some of this time to pack up and get ready to go home because there isn’t much time after Specials.
Recess – 2:30-2:45
Specials – 2:45-3:45
This is when my students go off to other classes (Music, P.E., Library, etc.). This is my prep time. This doesn’t always happen for an hour everyday either. If I don’t have a special during this time I’m usually extending art or doing extra Carpet Time with Reading, Writing and Math skills.
End of Day – 3:45-3:55
Although it seems like I have long blocks of time for many subjects each day, remember that transitions from Recess and the different parts of our day are part of the block of time. We actually have a shorter blocks than what it seems. We all know how it REALLY works!
This is just ONE example of a classroom schedule for Kindergarten BUT not everyday works this perfectly. Having a routine for kindergarten helps students feel comfortable and also helps them NOT say things like “When is it time to go home?” Please note that it takes time to set up a predictable classroom schedule so you might still hear that question at the beginning of the year. If you do, don’t take it personally — it doesn’t last forever.
If you want to more details about my schedule or see the forms, routines and activities I use at the beginning of the year you might like this resource: