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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you be able to share what a "typical" day looked/looks like in your classroom? Dd has been home from ps gr. 3 for 2.5 weeks and it just seems like we are getting done our formal school lessons way too quickly. I know part of the reason is because it is one-on-one, and I've seen posts about how time is wasted walking from here to there, handing out papers, etc., but I am curious what a 3rd grade (or thereabouts) typical public school day entails. Thanks
 

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I used to teach K, 1, 2, and 4th. The basic schedule for 2nd and 4th were pretty similar, though the type of work was obviously a bit different. **All the time blocks I give always include the time needed for things like: getting books out of desks, getting into needed groups or down to the carpet for whole group work (in primary grades), getting out journals, pencils, crayons, passing out scissors, passing out needed supplies, lining up, sitting down, putting things in backpacks, taking things out of backpacks, passing out playground equipment, putting said equipment away ... it was endless the things that went along with things like, "read together on the carpet" ... it was like a 7-course meal to just read a story together.


8:30: Bell rang; students did Daily Warm-ups while I took roll and got things settled.

8:40: Corrected Daily Warm-ups.

8:50'ish: Began Language Arts block. Usually we'd spend at least 20-30 minutes reading - either me to them or me with them - some type of guided reading and/or shared reading. Then we'd do some seat work for another 15-20 minutes - this could be a group project or workbook type stuff or journal writing. Then we'd work with phonics/spelling/word wall/word families for 15-20 minutes.

10:00-10:15: Recess. Sometimes we'd still have L/A to work on after recess; sometimes we'd be done.

10:15-10:20: It usually took at least 5 minutes to get everyone settled down. Usually there would be students who would be pulled out during this time for special services.

10:30: Hopefully by this time we'd be ready to move on. Sometimes we'd be finishing our language arts, especially if we were having a more rough behavior day or had a bunch of interruptions. (It's amazing, really, how many interruptions there are.) Otherwise, we'd begin math. I'd present a lesson for about 10-15 minutes, usually on the overhead projector. Sometimes we'd read a math story/picture book. Then, we'd do some guided practice - this might entail passing out mini-chalkboards/chalk or paper. Usually the prep for guided practice took at least 5 minutes in and of itself. The practice time itself usually lasted 15 minutes. Then, the students would do some independent practice or work on a math project together (especially if we were doing classifying/sorting/patterning type work).

11:30: We'd start getting ready for lunch by 11:30 at the latest to ensure we'd get to the actual lunch line on time.

11:40-12:20: Lunch (the students actually had a relatively "long" lunch period considering the time other school districts around here have)

12:20-12:40: This was the time it took to get everyone in after lunch, lunch boxes put away, playground equipment in its proper place, and everyone settled for quiet time. Then the remaining time (about 10 minutes) would be for quiet/settling down time ... heads down resting or drawing in their journals ... lights were out and soft music would be playing.

12:40ish: Silent reading. We were required to have a SSR (sustained silent reading) period. It was about 15-20 minutes long (yes, even for 1st grade).

1:00: Depending on our morning, this might still be math time. Otherwise, it would alternate between social studies, science, art, seasonal craft/seasonal theme, health. Unless we were just reading from a book and then doing something in their seats, one activity would take the entire 45 minute time block for prep and getting started. Passing out things to 20+ people, getting art supplies all on desk (even if I tried to prep as much as possible beforehand) took an extreme amount of time.

1:45-1:55: Afternoon recess. The school eventually dropped this recess in favor of "banking minutes" for early release days and such for staff meetings. This recess wasn't as ridiculous as the upper grade recess that was from 2:20-2:30, when dismissal was at 2:35!

1:55-2:00: Settling in after recess (this was a daily chore - getting settled down after recesses/lunch)

2:00: This block was a mess because there was only 35 minutes left in the day. We usually got homework passed out, backpacks packed, and then either read something aloud, did a group lesson on the carpet (for instance, played a math game or a spelling game on the board), or played math/reading games with a beach ball up on the desks. It was very hard to figure out how to fully utilize this time as it would take about 5 minutes to get books out, for instance, for a quick social studies lesson, and then another 10 minutes to put them away, hand out homework, pack backpacks, etc. So, we'd only have about 15 minutes max for an actual activity.

2:35: Dismissal

Even typing it out ... there is so much time wasted. Handing out papers, gathering papers, passing out/collecting homework, disciplining/redirecting students, getting students to special pull-out programs (RSP, speech, music, lunch-time-helpers, etc), settling down after recess/lunch, getting ready for recess/lunch, passing out playground equipment ...

Where I taught, the students were in school for 6 hours. Before they took out that last recess, they had 1 hour, 5 minutes total for recess and lunch. So, that leaves 4 hours and 55 minutes for actual instruction, 5 days a week. One hour each week was library time and one hour each week was art time (which then became PE/dance time when they made the art teacher into a 1st grade teacher). So, out of 24 hours, 35 minutes a week of instructional time, 2 hours were in special classes, so that left the teachers with 22hours, 35 minutes to try to get through everything. I would venture to say that in any given week, I really only was able to fully utilize at max 15 hours a *week* in instruction - what is that, 3 hours a day.

When I look at the time I "need" to get through our 1st grade work (including PreK for ds#2 and getting the toddler distracted), I probably need about 2 1/2 hours. So, yea, homeschooling and getting through everything the schools do over the course of a year is possible in no more than 2-3 hours a day ... and really, that is for instruction 20 at the same time.
I liken our interruptions by the toddler to be equivalent right now to about 1/2 the interruptions of a regular classroom.
Even so, we can get through so much in a day if we really wanted to (we don't though we try ... really, we get through a lot, just not always what I *think* we'll get through, like today we got sidetracked making board games
). If the toddler napped each morning for 2 hours straight, the other two and I would be able to do language arts, math, science/history/nature/arts, and proabably read-aloud/story time.
 

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You're welcome! It was eye-opening to me too. I haven't been in the classroom in over 5 years ... I had forgotten what it was like.
But, yea, even in fine-tuned classrooms, a lot of time is wasted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much for your detailed reply! I am getting work done with dd in 1.5 hrs. tops most days. I do want to add art and music appreciation in and some science experiments, but even so I can't imagine it taking more than 2 hrs. to finish everything formal and the rest would be whatever she wanted to do with her time.

Thanks again
 

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I would have to agree with MyLittleWonders. I taught K, 1 and 2 and I would say that we were lucky if we got a solid 3 hours of instruction a day. In half-day kindergarten... maybe an hour. So much wasted time!
 
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