I started this yesterday but ran out of time. I am really running out of time tonight, but I am determined to share some more of my day. Even if no one is reading, it is a good record for me. :) And one day I can show my kids, "See, this is what your mom does all day!" :)
I think at last stop, it was about 9 or 9:15. After we shared about our weekend, we gathered on the rug for "calendar" time. Calendar time is a time of looking at the calendar (yes, really, in case you didn't figure that out :), talking about the day, looking at our schedule, counting the days of school, graphing the weather, etc. It can get a bit monotonous. We do it every single day. And at this point in the year, some kids have had their fill of the calendar. But it also has so many instructional points throughout the activity, it is a keeper. We do try to get up and move during calendar time by counting out to 100 with exercises or putting on some movement songs. And I try to involve the kids as much as possible by having them help write the date, fill in our weather graph, give me a "thumbs up/thumbs down" for questions, singing songs, etc.
Around 9:30, we read a book about Arkansas. That is our theme for the week. Usually we have a two week theme (recent themes include ponds, farm, insects, and plants). However, for Arkansas, we just spend one week. I try to tie most lessons to our theme. I pulled down the map in our room. As I read the story, I pointed out where some of the places we were reading about were. It is funny to hear the kids say, "Hey, I live in Arkansas..."
Mondays are not typical days. Every other day of the week, we have "learning stations". I set up eight different activities (many related to our theme) that will help the students in different areas. For example this week, I have the students exploring and creating with play dough (good for the hand muscles), assembling puzzles of Arkansas as well as the United States, writing about homes, finding words they can read in the newspaper, and comparing the number of letters in their name to the number of letters in their classmates' names. Anyway, Monday is a bit different. It is called "Catch Up Day". On that day, I pick up the work that the students finished last week during learning stations (they have a folder they keep it in). It can be kind of time consuming and requires lists for me of who needs to finish what. At the same time, I am trying to teach students responsibility (keeping up with their work) and work ethic (finishing what you start). Anyway, those students who are finished can go to a "free choice center" like computers, games/puzzles, math manipulatives, or housekeeping/drama. This is one of the more chaotic (or rather looks like chaos...I know what is going on :) times of the week. I have students exploring in free choice, while I am running around to make a copy for this child, open the glue for that child, check my list for this child on what still needs to be done. And at one time, I can have five people screaming my name.
A bit crazy, I know. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Okay, maybe minus the screaming. :)