What I'm Teaching in a Half-Day Program

Do you teach half day Kindergarten?  It is a constant juggling act to get it all in, keep students engaged (without being overworked), and keep things moving because the end of the day comes quickly!  I have my students for 2 hours and 45 minutes each day and I try my best to jam pack it full of learning and fun along the way.  Here is a look at what I'm teaching this week in a half-day program.

My day is broken up into 5 sessions.  We have Morning Work, Word Work, Reading, Writer's Workshop, and Math.  

We start every day with MORNING WORK that focuses on our letter of the week, sight words, grammar skill for the week, and writing sentences.  This activity gets them in their seats and working as soon as they get in the door.  As soon as they are done they raise their hands and I come by to check their work and I give them a stamp.  Once they have a stamp they can move on to a WORD WORK station.   
 WORD WORK stations consist of 5 different "core" stations that I have introduced throughout the year.  Students choose from:
Cut and Glue
Word Work
Write the Room
They have to go to Lexia once daily but the rest of the stations are completely up to them.  I time the stations 15 minutes at a time and ring a chime when time is up.  When the chime rings they clean up and move to another station.  This 45 minute block of word work time gives me time to meet with 3 small groups daily.   
Reading: After our word work stations we have a reading lesson (I use a CAFE model: Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expand Vocabulary) and we go to Read to Self time.  This gives me another opportunity to meet with students and read with them.  I also use Heidi Songs during this time in our day.  You can read more about how I use them to teach sight words HERE.  

Writer's Workshop: My Writer's Workshop routine and lessons come from Lucy Calkins units of study.  Right now we are working on personal narratives.  This week we are working on telling a story with more than one detail and at the end of the week we will put all of our details together into a little book.  This is our first attempt at plan, write, edit, and publish.  It should make for an exciting week! 

Math:  I use Guiding Kinders in my classroom for math and have loved these units from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills since I first started them last year.  You can see more about them when I first started them HERE. The post is titled "Math Workshop, I'm in LOVE"....just to let you know how I really feel about them! They include daily fluency, group lesson, partner work, and independent work. 
Once my students finish their independent work I use math tubs to keep them moving.  We don't all finish at the same time so this gives my "fast finishers" a hands on way to keep working on math skills.  We also have an online learning program called SPLASHMATH they can go to if they want to too.  For the students that don't finish right away this time gives me an opportunity to work with them one on one or in small groups.  Some days I'm working with one kiddo and some days I have 4 or 5 sitting at my horseshoe table working through the new concepts.  It's a really flexible way to give additional intervention.    
After math tubs we get together again to solve our "Problem of the Day" in our journals.  I put this routine all together HERE.   We don't always get to our journals but I like to make sure we solve 2 to 3 problems a week.  The whole routine only takes about 10 minutes! 

OK....where is the fun?  I have to be sneaky to plan any fun into our tight schedule but I've managed to figure out a few ways to make it happen!  First off....WACKY WEDNESDAY!

We have early release on Wednesday for Professional Learning Communities so these days are already a bit "wacky".  When I started teaching half day I realized that I never had any time for science, social studies, or any of the amazing things we get to explore when we are in Kindergarten.  After a quick talk with my principal I ditched our regular routine on Wednesday and adopted "Wacky Wednesday".  On these days we start with our regular routine and then I spend the rest of the day exploring new things.  This week we are talking all about dental health with a cool little book from Simply Kinder.

Our other little bit of fun that we have each week (ok...it's actually a lot of fun) comes on FUN FRIDAY.  On Friday we get out the paint, blocks, STEM activities, iPods, Starfall, and iPads and we have 2 hours and 45 minutes of centers.  What am I doing during this time?  I'd love to say I have my feet up and I'm enjoying a latte but that would be a lie.....sigh....I am getting ALL of my assessments and progress monitoring done for the week during this time.  I'm a little bit of a data geek so this is actually fun for me too (and students love to come show me what they know so it's fun for them too!) 
Fun Friday Center: Starfall on the Chromebooks

Turtle Diary games on the Mimio

Lakeshore STEM activites (we call this the problem solving station)

 That's how we shake things up in a half day kindergarten program.  It is a whirlwind adventure that happens twice a day in my life.  As soon as I finish with the first group the second group comes in and we start all over again. (OK....I do get a lunch break...I'm not completely bananas!) 

I'm linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten for Peek at my Week.  She has some amazing links for dental health week, yay for collaborative planning!