trust the teaching schedule and teach on!

it's workshop wednesday...

when first handed the box for the units of study from our principal, we admit thumbing through pages and feeling completely overwhelmed.  looking at one lesson and seeing multiple teaching points was confusing and left us wondering, "how can we do this?'

workshop wednesday

when we sat down and dug in and looked all of the big ideas in one lesson, our first instinct was to break the whole thing apart into multiple days worth of lessons. sometimes after teaching the lesson some teachers felt like they needed to go rogue and teach their own lesson to really drive home the concepts being taught. our takeaway...DON'T.

keep with the plan. keep moving! 

we have become obsessed with attending the teachers college fall and spring reunions held in new york 2 times a year! for those who have never been… add it to your bucket list. when we explain the reunions to newbies and rookies we always liken the experience to  "disneyland"  for educators. there is a mad rush of teachers and the crowd size is unbelievable.  you choose which speakers and topics you want to attend and then just like in the "magic kingdom" you rush from ride to ride (or speaker to speaker) hoping to beat the line or the rush. at one such reunion, we had the pleasure of attending a seminar on how to get started with the units of study.

 at this seminar, they talked about the pace of the units and how best to plan and use your instruction. we too have fallen victim to feeling the lesson was too long or that the kids needed a follow up lesson so that more children would grasp the lesson ideas. we too have felt lucy can be wordy (sorry lucy) and decided to skip parts of her lessons YIKES!  the big takeaway from this seminar however allowed us to shift our thinking and helped us to realize that even when you think you haven’t reached all the kids…keep with the plan. keep moving,  trust the schedule, and teach on!

at the conference a comparison was made to children on a playground. can you imagine if a child was learning to cross the monkey bars. if this task was new and hard, would they want to spend their entire recess on the monkey bars? furthermore, would we make them stay on the monkey bars until they successfully made it across? NO WAY! kids spend a few minutes on hard and new tasks, then they move onto things that they already know how to do and things that they can do with confidence. after multiple trials and short practices a child will finally be ready to master the monkey bars. however, just like concepts of reading and writing, they are not all ready at the same time.

remember the playground

 so…when you think about re-teaching a lesson, or breaking a lesson up into multiple lessons and days, remember the playground! not everyone is ready at the same time. the lesson you teach will be retaught in a similar way later in the year or the following year. allow them to try out the new idea (like the monkey bars) and don’t expect them all to master it YET! they are still learning, they are still growing, and your job is to introduce them to the monkey bars.

let them enjoy the playground!

jessica & laura & melissa 


  1. Hi there! I love your new blog! I've been teaching kindergarten for a lot of years, and at the school I am at now, we are departmentalized (yes, even in kindergarten). I have 60 minutes for all language arts so writing goes by the wayside, and I'm disappointed. I would love to do writers workshop, but there is no time with our switching classes. The students are still at the "I like my mom" writing and even my sharpies will not write more than that. I know they will improve with writing more often, but I am lucky to have time to get in reading (no time for small group work either.)
    Would you have any ideas on how to squeeze in writing on a limited time?

  2. Hi Lee Ann,
    I think your question is a great one! I am wondering when you say you have 6o minutes does that mean reading workshop, writing workshop, read aloud and shared reading? Or do you have pockets of time during the day too? Is it a half day or full day program? Let me know and we will send you back some suggestions! Melissa

    1. We are full day, but we have about 3.5 hours of instruction time. I wish I could do a reading and writing workshop, but there is no time for it. My language arts class is 60 minutes which must include 30 minutes of our Fundations program. Then that leaves 30 minutes to fit in sight words, doing a reading lesson (read aloud and comprehension skills) and maybe getting 10 minutes for writing. I do that 2 times in the morning, once with another teacher's class and then with my homeroom. I have my own class in the afternoon in which I do 20 minutes for literacy centers and 20 minutes of some kind of science/social studies/art activity.

  3. Lee Ann,

    Are you allowed to do a shorter fundation? Many of the teachers in our building have made it into a fifteen block. We are wondering how many books you fit in your read aloud, is it one book a week or a book a day? Can you combine the read aloud with science/ social studies. If you could would you email us your schedule...we would love to play around with it... our email address is

    1. I sent you an email with my schedule.