I'm linking up once again for the Summer Book Study on Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, really a must-read for anyone who aspires to motivate students to read.
Today's topic is Creating a Workshop Schedule That Works for You, which is hosted by Jivey from Ideas by Jivey and Chelsea from Flip-Floppin' Through 3rd Grade.
I struggle with the same issue that many of you do when it comes to scheduling workshop, the lack of time. This past year I was limited to 55 minutes due to special education and intervention schedules. 55 minutes! Yikes! Donalyn suggests that no matter how much time you have, you should divide it into thirds, one-third independent reading, conferring, and small groups; one-third direct instruction and guided practice with the whole class; and one-third independent practice with additional time spent reading or writing. What I did with my 55 minutes varied from day to day, but I would say it was mostly 20 to 25 minutes direct instruction and modeling and 30 minutes of independent reading and practice time.
The hard part is still fitting in all those other pieces that create the whole language arts instruction picture, like word work, writing, read aloud, etc. I did have a separate 45 minute block for writing. I squeezed my word work into that time by devoting Monday's block to meeting with each of my three Words Their Way word work groups. While I met with a group on the carpet the other two groups did independent writing at their seats. The rest of the week's word work practice had to be done through homework which was due on Friday, the day I gave a short word work quiz.
I was able to squeeze in my read aloud at the end of the day, which wasn't ideal, but it worked. While doing some of the MAISA units, like the one using Wonder, I would read aloud at the end of the day, and then the lesson for that section would take place the next day. I am hoping that this year I can do my read aloud in the morning during an extended workshop time. I dare to dream!
I really tried to hold that 30 minutes of silent reading time sacred. In past years I have suffered with groups of professional book shoppers. You know what I am talking about...those kids that avoid reading by constantly looking for books in the class library. A few years back I starting designating a couple of book racks for my students to use to house the books they want to read next.
They are required to keep at least two books on the rack at all times. That way if they finish a book during silent reading time, they just go grab a book off the rack, and none of that precious time is wasted! I do need to figure out a time to schedule book browsing though. That is one thing I want to somehow fit into my schedule this year. One thought I had was having one or two groups a day browse for books during snack and bathroom break time. Any other thoughts on a good time to squeeze that in?