Welcome to part 2 of the 3 part series of OG in the classroom.
I am often asked how does it look? What does the schedule look like?
Well, every classroom will look different. Depending on the structure of your day, how many students you have, do you have an assistant or not? It will also depend on your school and what their expectations are and demands. Finally, how much control do you actually have for structuring your classroom?
Here is what my current situation is. Currently, I am teaching in a First Grade classroom in a Catholic School. I have a part-time assistant 4 days per week for my morning block. We have worked together for 7 years now so she is without a doubt my right hand. Or as I jokingly call her, my school wife. My class size has varied from 24 to 18. The smaller the class size the easier on you for planning purpose.
Make sure you have read part one for help with planning. We use OG strategies to improve our reader and our speller. We made a big change 2 years ago. We no longer give the parents a spelling list to help their child memorize. We now send home the phonics rule. We give them 10 words to practice with for the week. And of course, homework that encourages making words at home. On Friday they are tested on 10 words that they would have seen at some point during the week with all of the making word practices we have.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays my schedule is relatively the same. I have my students from drop off at 7:45 am till we go to recess at 10:50 am. This is when I do my ELA block and the largest chunks of OG strategies. On Wednesdays, my block is broken up with specials and I do not have an assistant. On Fridays, my block is broken up with mass attendance but Friday's are usually reserved for assessment.
Every single morning drop-off begins at 7:45 and the students trickle in till about 8am. For those 15 minutes, my students have Book Club. This is where they choose a book they want to read and they find a place anywhere in the classroom to sit and read silently. At the beginning of the year, you must teach your students what this looks like. I practice Daily 5 strategies so I do a lot of instruction on what silent reading looks like and what it does not look like. We also spend time practicing. We also spend time learning how to pick a book.
At 8am, we pray and do the pledge. The students immediately begin working on morning work for the next 30 minutes. The morning work allows me time to do attendance, lunch count, work one on one, conference etc... For morning work they do one page from their Daily Math (Teachers pay Teachers), they do 3 sentences for Daily Fix It from the board (Reading Street Series), and then do a fluency page in their fluency notebooks (Teachers Pay Teachers: The Literacy Nest and Miss Giraffe). Here is where the work begins.
In Part 1 I described how my classroom is laid out and how we have the phonics rule everywhere for the children to see. So on Monday's they have not had formal instruction on the phonics rule of the week but they know where to find it in the room and try to figure it out. By Tuesday we have completed a day of instruction so they are asked to remember and if they can't be directed to move about the room to find what the phonics lesson is for the week. By Thursday I know who may really be struggling now and who will need a lot of focus and one on one instruction.
The fluency notebooks are where the students read to themselves a passage, they highlight the rule as they see it in the passage. For example, if they are looking for the long vowel a with magic e ... they would highlight only those words in the passage. Then we ask them to write the words they highlighted on another page. They also write the rule on the top of the page. Then they find an adult in the room and read the passage to us. At times the passages may have comprehension questions or they are puzzles that require they put the story pictures in order.
At 8:30 we conclude the morning work and meet as a group on the carpet. On Monday's I am sharing the rule and modeling the rule. I use magnetic letters, the smartboard with magnetic letters, or a simple whiteboard and marker. I start the year with the smartboard so we can do blending easier. Begining of the year we start blending CVC and CVCe. As the year progresses and we have learned more rules then we blend more difficult words. On Tuesday's the students are working with the manipulatives. Either they are building words with magnets or with their own personal whiteboard. On Wednesday's we are usually working in much smaller groups or one on one during this time because some students are pulled for support or for enrichment at that time. This is when some of my students get more multisensory practice. Thursday's we work on making more words and this time more challenging words. The kiddos now either practice on their whiteboard or writing on their desks. THEY LOVE WRITING ON THEIR DESKS! It all comes off with Lysol wipes. We may also do sorting at this time too. For example, if we are adding an inflected ending they may sort by ed making the t sound or id or ed or d.
By 9am we have reviewed the phonics rule, the grammar rule, the comprehension skill. And now we break into centers. In my classroom, the students move about the centers as they wish. They have 3 targets they must hit each day but should strive to hit all centers. The 3 targets usually are Word Work, Work on Writing, and Journal. While the students are at centers my assistant is working with a small group and I am working with a small group or a one on one. It is at this time that the sand trays come out and we do some work with multisensory at my table. We review the phonics lesson with the trays. Then we move to reading in small groups. By Wednesday I have read with all the groups and will revisit my low group for some more reinforcement of the skill that week. My higher kiddos are also working on answering more implicit reflection questions for their reading. By Thursday we are playing more games in small groups to reinforce the skills.
At the centers, the students are working on a variety of activities. Some of the activities include: word sorts by rule, making words, word search, reading the story to self, reading the story to a friend, computer station: spelling city/ixl/mathletics, grammar practice, comprehension practice, listening to a story, games: roll and read, Bananagrams, pears pairs, apples, boggle, etc...ABC order, fluency notebook, fluency passages, etc... Again time is spent at the beginning of the school year to teach the children how to use and work at each station. I have bought bundles from Teachers Pay Teachers and I have made some of my own. It's an ongoing process.
Red words or sight words are taught on Tuesdays. On Tuesday afternoons, I write a sentence on the board with the red word in red. The students have gathered their red word paper, their red crayon and the plastic needlepoint sheet to write their red words. We do the red word drill and the students keep their red words in a folder. The red words also have a place on our class board. On Wednesday we review our red words for the week. We also review past red words on a power point. On Wednesday the student's take home their red words. At our open house night we teach the parents about red words so they know how to review with their child: write, trace, tap, write.
Thursday's we do a practice test at the end of the day. I print out a practice test I make on IMSE with the sound lines. I also write the sound lines on the board so I can review with the students what the sound lines mean. They become experts. I do allow my students who need the accommodation to have sound lines on the actual test day.
Friday's is the test day. We do a phonics test and we do a spelling test. I usually write the sound lines on the board and the students spell the words on their paper. We are very explicit. From Monday to Friday it is always... "I say, You say, We say." So I would say... "the word is bake," then the students repeat "bake". I then say and tap with my fingers "b-a-k-e" on each sound line on the board. The students then repeat the sounding out "b - a- k -e". Then they write the word.
So the students have 10 words that follow that weeks rule. They have 2-3 red words. Finally, they have 2 dictation sentences where we revisit the prior weeks' rule, this weeks rule, and previous red words.
Our first-grade team has had great success with this program. In fact, the majority of our students who come into first grade below grade level exit at grade level or beyond. It is amazing to even watch the kiddos who came in high to soar even further because they have learned about syllabication and sounds and rules.
This was a brief description of our schedule. We also have additional time built-in for writing and handwriting throughout the day.
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner