When I found out that I would be teaching 5th grade this year, I spent the summer devising a brilliant plan to make this year the best 5th grade year ever. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I mean, it’s been a great year, but there are certainly things that I would change for next year. A lot of things didn’t go the way that I originally planned.
One thing that I really wanted to do this year was have a flexible schedule. I wanted to give my students the opportunity to work on whatever subjects they wanted whenever we had time in the classroom. I wanted to give my students some freedom in their schedule. That didn’t happen. We have so many specials that we never have more than 45 minutes in the classroom at any one time; often times, we only have 15- or 30-minute blocks of time that make it really had to get any work done, let alone flexible scheduling.
Today, I was finally able to offer a little bit in the way of flexible scheduling. The PE teacher was gone–we don’t have subs for specials teachers–so I found myself with an extra 45 minutes in the schedule. Yay! I told my students they could choose to either do writing first or math first; we have 45 minutes today for both of them, so it didn’t matter to me.
It was fun to see what everyone chose. Most people chose to do writing first (which is where writing usually fits into our schedule), but some chose math. I liked having students working on different things; some were writing drafts, some were researching, some were working on a formative assessment, some were working on analyzing line plots. It’s a good practice of self-management skills; I even heard a student say during our second work time that he should’ve chosen to do math first. Maybe he’ll remember that next time.