Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running a Multi-age Class & Whole Brain Update

Whole Brain Teaching is starting to sink in and work pretty well for my kids! They are getting really good at "Mirror!" and reciting the rules. One boy always giggles right before we say #5 (keep your dear teacher happy) and says "time for your favorite one!" The kids are so excited about the rules that they randomly chant them out loud when they realize they're following one. I can't even count the number of times I asked a kid to do something and they cheered "Follow directions quickly!!!" as they ran to do what I asked. Then when they know they did something well, they ask "Can I earn a monster point?!" It has become our new nickname for the Class Dojo points since they each got to pick their own monster avatar. I still need to determine a redeem your points system, but for now they just love hearing the ding of a happy point, and they even tell me when they think another kid next to them has really earned a point and I should give it to them. Yay teamwork!!!

I am running a self-contained class for kids in K-2, which means they stay with me all day for all subjects with the exception of PE and Specials (art, music, etc.). This becomes a test of organization! The kids are all learning different things at the same time (up to 3 different lessons at once) and there is only one of me (no classroom aides). I've had some of you wonderful followers ask how I do this. The simple answer: organization, schedules and routines! Here is breakdown of a typical day in my room. Just think centers rotations in hyper-drive for most of the day.

Ways I make my life easier:
  • All students have a seat work folder with their assignments for the day in order. Anything that doesn't get done stays in the folder for the next day.
  • I have folders labeled Monday-Friday for copies/materials the kids will need as a whole group
  • Materials specific to a subject/grade go in another set of folders (Kinder reading, kinder math, 1st reading, 1st math, 2nd reading, 2nd math)
  • Things that don't fit in folders sit in a stack in order of when I'll need to use them during the day
I got these super cute folders so I have something pretty to smile at while I file all the work for my kiddos. Mine are a little more blue and purple, but I couldn't find a picture of those.

Ready for the organized chaos??? Here it goes...

K= kinder, 1/2= first and second grade, 1= first grade, 2= second grade

Language Arts (hour and a half):
  • Students enter the room and pull their seat work folders out of their chair pockets and beginning working quietly (10 min)
    • K- writing/fine motor skills (tracing, matching with lines, cutting, etc.)
    • 1/2 Editing practice activities (adding capitals, punctuation, spelling)
  • I begin pulling a group of kids for instruction while the other group(s) continues their seat work (20 min)
    • K- instruction with teacher for Letter of the Day
    • 1/2- editing practice continues, then silent reading time when finished
  • Switch groups (20 min)
    • K- Independent practice activities with the Letter of the Day (trace, print, initial sounds)
    • 1- Word family/sight word practice work
    • 2- Reading instruction with teacher
  • Switch (20 min)
    • K- Literacy centers
    • 1- Instruction with teacher
    • 2- Independent response/work activities corresponding to the reading lesson
  • Final Switch (20 min)
    • K- Continue centers
    • 1- Independent response/work corresponding to the reading lesson
    • 2- Continue independent work, sometimes reading centers
    • Teacher- rotate between student groups, provide support/interventions

Writers Workshop (45 min):
  •  First Rotation
    • K- write the room/writing station activities
    • 1/2- Write-to, direct instruction for writing skills
  • Second Rotation
    • K- predicable chart with the teacher
    • 1/2- writing journals
  •  Final Rotation
    • K- writing journals
    • K-2- writing conferences with the teacher


Read Aloud

Math (One hour)
  • First Rotation (20 min)
    • K/1- Math Centers
    • 2- Direct instruction
  • Second Rotation (20 min)
    • K/1- Direct instruction
    •  2- Independent work based on instruction, centers when done
  • Final Rotation (20 min)
    • K-2 Independent work based on instruction, with teacher support as needed plus interventions
Brain Break Activities

Social Studies
  • First Rotation
    • K- Hands on learning activities (make and take projects)
    • 1/2 Teacher instruction with textbook
  • Second Rotation
    • K- Instruction with teacher (read aloud, direct instruction)
    • 1/2 Response activities
  • First Rotation
    • K- Hands on learning activities (make and take projects)
    • 1/2 Teacher instruction with textbook
  • Second Rotation
    • K- Instruction with teacher (read aloud, direct instruction)
    • 1/2 Response activities

Kiss Your Brain goodbye song, kids go home

Lastly, Lisa goes a little crazy prepping to do this all over again the next day :)


  1. WOW! You could publish a book and I WOULD DEFINITELY be the first to buy! AMAZING!

  2. Thanks guys. Today was one of the rough days, so I really needed happy thoughts right now!


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