Well that is another year in the books. As I close the door on my 11th year teaching I look forward
First to enjoying my summer
Second to planning for next year!
So recently I was asked what do I do to get ready for next year. I thought that this was a great question to answer in a blog post.
First up is creating my time table.
It is one of the first things I do and often is the foundation for establishing routines and other systems I will have in my classroom.
I am lucky in that I get my timetable quite early One of the first things I do is plan out what my schedule looks like.
Things like french, library, phys. ed, music. Etc are all pre-determined for me so I need to be able to work around this.
I also have guidelines for timing
- Language – 500 min/week
- Math – 300 min/week
- Science/Social Studies – 150 – 200 min/week
- Arts – 150 – 200 min/week
- Physical education – 150 min / week (prep)
- DPA 40 min/ week
- French 200 min/week (prep)
- Library 50min/week
If you are quick with math you will see that I am over my weekly min of 1500 instructional minutes.
So some of this gets integrated and I teach multiple subjects during the same period.
Math is integrated with science and social studies especially when looking at data management, measurement, location and movement, number sense.
Dance is integrated with physical education, drama and art are also integrated.
I do stick to my 100 min of uninterrupted language per day and 60min of math.
So does it really matter what you do when??
Here is my own methodology for how I create my weekly time table.
I start with language arts. I look for blocks of time where I can put 100 minutes of uninterrupted time for literacy instruction. (We are on a balanced day so it is generally easy to do)
I like consistency more than the time period. I look for the most consistent time in the day where I have these (I have no preference for morning or afternoon for language). My language program is pretty laid back and independent so I can get away with putting this anywhere in my schedule.
Next, I schedule math. I make sure to put this in the first half of the day and always right after a break or transition period. For example it is great after they have Physical Education.
I try to never schedule math where it is the second subject I teach them in a block of time. I find it easier to transition into math this way without losing time.
Next is visual arts. I look for two periods of this together preferably at the end of the day.
This year I couldn’t find them together so instead I had one art scheduled for period 6 one day followed by period one the next day. This actually worked out amazingly well. Since my instruction could be period 6 and their working period right away the next day period one.
However, I still prefer art to be at the end of the day. I also integrate this with drama and throw that in there throughout the year every third or fourth art period or so.
Physical Education / DPA
My students have physical education three times a week so this means that on those off days I find time to do Daily Physical Activity (DPA). Normally I will put this in a period that I do not have a tonne of reporting. This is great for a prep coverage teacher that isn’t reporting like during library, or computers (if you still have that) Some rules that I stick to however include:
- Never take DPA time out of language, math, or social studies time.
- Know that teaching a split makes things take longer.
- I cannot afford to steal from these areas. So this is an important consideration when creating your time table.
Science and Social Studies
For these subject areas, I teach them in blocks of time.
I will teach science for a month then social studies for two months.
Because I teach a split I need more time to cover the material. So while using a flip-flop method between the two grades I focus on one subject state and at a time each week.
In terms of my timetable, I am running out of room so these subjects need to fit in wherever I have room.
I look for 3-4 periods a week that fit into my schedule.
If I had lots of space I would try these for close to a math or language period.
Most often though these get pushed to the end of the day and 10 min is relegated to math to make up our full 60 min math requirement.
Notes and Considerations
Many times we are given a prep period where our classes are covered by a teacher that has lots of time but not a lot of reporting.
If you teach a split I highly recommend you try to negotiate your way out of this predicament.
You need as much time as possible to teach your core subjects so moving things off your plate will be important.
- Ask your Phys. Ed teachers to also teach dance and health
- Ask the librarian to cover media, oral communication, drama or DPA
- If you have a drama teacher, can they also do dance or DPA.
- Ask your computer teacher to cover a math strand, science, media or drama.
Grated some of these asks can be refused by the teacher. But if you have a supportive admin perhaps they can help. If not this year then next.
Most admins want all time to be instructional time so don’t be embarrassed to leverage that when you advocate for your timetable.
However, it is always better to approach the admin with solutions that you have solved. Then you are simply asking if they can approve them. This is always a better approach than going to them with a problem you are putting on their shoulders to solve for you.
Want to know more about what I do now to get ready for September.
Stay tuned for the next post coming soon.