,When meeting with a teacher, she expressed her concern that she was never able to get everything completed, that needed to be, each day. We all have had that feeling at one time or another. Some of us all the time.
The teacher and I sat down and looked at her lesson plans. Being they type A person that I am, the first thing I noticed was that there was just a list of activities she wanted to accomplish during her 90 minute ELA block. There were no other times or estimates of the amount of time she may need. This is where we started.
Plan your class period like you are planning a trip or a tour. How much time do you expect each task to take? Decide how much time you are willing to give to each task. Once you have done this, schedule your class period.
For instance, the teacher I was meeting with had written down, "read chapter 6 in Hoot". I asked her how much time she would spend on this task. Her response was that it varied from day to day. I suggested, allowing herself only 20 minutes a day for the read aloud, whether she finished the chapter or not. This way that activity did not overpower her entire class time. Remember to alternate activities that will have the students sitting and moving.
Here's an example of a 90-minute ELA class period for 6th grade:
This schedule may be alternated depending on some of the activities needing to have a little more time. If you are doing a small group rotation for example, you may need to have the independent work done in a centers setting. When doing this I alternated between small group and whole group. That way students are working in a center, then coming back to me for whole group, then going back to another center. It allows for me to check in with students and to monitor behavior more closely.
Another example, this time for a first grade class:
During this particular discussion, the teacher asked me what I do when a lesson takes longer than I had planned. My response, I am flexible. You can choose to do one of two things; you can stop and continue the next day, or you can finish and not do something else. There is no right or wrong answer. You do what is best for your class and your students. But, having the schedule helps to keep you on track and focused.
The video below, by Mr. Thain, may help you to visualize some of my points.