28 June 2014

Literacy Block Organization & a Freebie!

Hey Friends! I've been "Digging into Next Year" (ummm, I only have 1 month before I go back to school - yikes!!!), and have "dug into" these topics (if you missed them, just click on the topic you're interested in, and you'll go straight to that post):
organize my literacy block.

I have my literacy block split into two different components: writer's workshop and reader's workshop. I shared my 2013-2014 class schedule in my post about the math workshop, but it definitely helps paint a picture of my day so here it is again.
Writer's Workshop is the very first content area we conquer each morning. I plan on keeping it this way. In the past, I've had writer's workshop later in the day, and, well...it's ain't pretty, friends. Having it first thing was great! My kids always had stories from vacations, weekends, sports' practices, etc. and it provided lots of great writing topics to talk and write about.

We start with a 5 - 10 minute mini-lesson, or at least, that's how long I want it to be. The reality is that my writing mini-lessons were usually more like 15 - 20 minutes (don't judge). Then we had "work time" - this is when my students were writing, and I was conferencing and holding small group meetings. We usually wrapped up with a quick closing time before we rushed out the door to specials.
Reader's Workshop is after math, and is pretty late in our day, considering we've already had specials and lunch, however, we combat the normal afternoon haze by using the Daily 5 structure. I started using D5 3 years ago, and I've never looked back. 

So 11:45 - 1:00 is our Reader's Workshop time. During this time we have a mini-lesson, work time, and a closing, just like writer's workshop and math workshop. It's in the "work time" that my students are actively doing Daily 5. We usually have 3 rounds of Daily 5 each day, each round lasting 15 - 20 minutes. We end with a short closing.
Depending on what time we have specials and lunch, my schedule will look very similar to the way it does now. I still plan on starting the day with writing, and having reading in the afternoon. I will continue to use a workshop model (mini-lesson, work time, and closing), and will absolutely continue to use Daily 5. (You can read all about the Daily 5, Second Edition here). 
My district uses Words Their Way as a spelling/phonics program, and to be honest, it's something we do if we have a few minutes here or there. Certainly not anything I can say I do consistently. As I mentioned before, my mini-lessons aren't so "mini" and I really need to get them under 10 minutes. 

So in a dream world, here is a schedule for Reader's Workshop.
I usually only have one focus lesson per day in reading, however, in the second edition (and the first for that matter) of The Daily 5, The 2 Sisters always have more than one focus lesson each day. I'm torn here, because I see the benefit of having more than one focus lesson, but I also see a HUGE benefit in having longer rounds of D5. Longer rounds means I have more time with small groups and conferencing, both of which allow for more individualized instruction. 

Clearly, I'm not sure what I'm doing yet. Ha! I'm thinking that for the first few weeks of school, while we're still building stamina, and learning routines and procedures, I could easily get in 3 focus lessons. After that, I could scale back to just 1 or even 2 focus lessons, and be able to get each D5 round to almost 20 minutes!

The real change that needs to occur, is for me to get mini-lessons/focus lessons quick and to the point, and no more than 10 minutes.
Writing Prompts - I created some creative writing prompts that are perfect for use in your writing center or during work on writing. You can see them below in action - I use them for morning work. Each set has 50 different prompts that cover a variety of genres. 
You can get ALL THREE packs for a big discount by grabbing the bundle (Top Secret - when I add more sets, you get to re-download without paying a higher price!)
I mentioned in the title of this post that there is a freebie, and so there is! I've been participating in The Daily 5 {second edition} book study (is haven't been following along, you can check it out here)! As we've been going through the book, I've been creating some great resources to go along with Daily 5. The resources are free, and will forever be free :) You can find them here! I hope you find them useful! They've definitely been a labor of love!
Don't forget to check out these other awesome bloggers who are "Diggin into Next Year" too! You can find them by clicking on the picture below!
Curious about what topics are in store for the rest of the "Diggin' in" series? Check out the calendars below! 


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