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Friday, August 7, 2015

How Do You Fit It All In? Scheduling in Fifth Grade

It's so ironic that as a teacher I feel like the day is so short, but when I was a stay-at-home mom, I thought the school day was so incredibly long. I couldn't wait for my girls to come home. Now I don't know how I will ever get it all in. Here is my 110th try at a schedule. Seriously.
Since this is my first year teaching fifth grade I have been thinking and rethinking through everything. Here's a small glimpse into what I have in mind:


I want to start off with number talks. I just finished reading Number Talks by Sherry Parrish and I'm really excited about using them to build fluency and efficiency. I read the book, but it wasn't until I watched some of her videos with fifth grade that I knew I had to try this. Next, I want to the bulk of my instruction to be taught using inquiry. So I plan to have at least 30 minutes for inquiry based problem solving and 15 minutes for discussion. Leaving (I hope) about 15 minutes for math games and fluency practice for the students, allowing me to work with small groups and individuals.


I really try to teach skills within context, but the tightness of my schedule and the amount of time before lunch left me with this 15 minute block of time. So I figured why not throw in a little skill based work. I really want to focus on using morphology to teach vocabulary and spelling. I'm still struggling on whether to go with the weekly spelling test. In first grade, parents didn't expect it. I'm not sure about fifth. I'm wondering if not rocking the boat is best this year.


I absolutely loved writing workshop with my first graders, so I'm really excited about trying this in fifth grade. I just ordered the newest Lucy Calkins Units of Study for fifth grade and I can't wait to get started.

DEAR Time (Drop Everything And Read)

I wrote a post about this earlier this summer while reading Kelly Gallagher's Readicide. Where did our silent reading time go? I know it's only 15 minutes, but I'm trying to look for ways to get more in. I just don't know if I can redo this schedule for the 111th time.


I will be teaching a unit on static and current electricity to the entire fifth grade. So that covers most of the year and then I will teach one more unit to just my class. I am so glad we are rotating for science this year. I know I can pull together one great unit, I'm not sure I could pull together five. We will rotate three times a week and have set some pretty specific ground rules. Plus I think my new team will all be great. 

Computers, PE, Library, Music

These all function as our planning times, so no teaching worries.

Social Studies

This is actually one of the reasons why I picked fifth grade. I love US history. I was a little disappointed when I looked through our textbook but I knew I wouldn't be teaching through only a textbook anyway. So this is probably where I need to spend the most time developing a plan for teaching. But it's also the best time to use literature. Good content, good literature - this is going to be so fun!

Guided Reading

I really want to do a mix of student choice groups and leveled groups this year. I think some book clubs and genre study will be perfect. My biggest worry is the number of groups and books I need to keep up with, so I'll be throwing some class books in there too.

I don't know how you get it all in, but I'm sure going to try! I would love to hear your best advice for an experienced teacher who is new to fifth grade.

Looking forward to a great new year. I hope you are too!

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