At the beginning of the school year, I struggled with time, seemingly too much of it. Our bell schedule changed to a later start time and even though the minutes seem to match the previous year's, the day felt so much longer. I was used to having just about all of my instruction time before lunch, the short afternoon reserved for specials and on some days, free choice time. Now, I have a solid chunk of instruction after lunch and if you know kindergarteners, this is not a great time for instruction. My kids and I left for home each day exhausted. Last year I barely had time for free choice time on a daily basis, usually only having it 2 days a week. This year, I seem to have wide-open time at the end of the day, perfect for free choice. This year I had room for a morning break on Thursdays to let my kids run between reading and writing. Well, that was then.
This is now.
Now I feel like I don't have ENOUGH time. Is it possible that I secretly want my kids for longer? I vowed to launch into guided reading groups directly at the beginning of the quarter. I've gotten started, but it's not nearly as steady and consistent as I'd like. Same for writing and math. We're not desperately behind, but we are not where I wish we were.
Yes, I have had meetings, planning days, fun-kindergarten-days like Fall Fest taking up time, but not enough for me to lay blame.
I suppose what this is is priorities. In the beginning of the year I needed my kids to become part of our community, to learn the rules, to learn the routine, and to master some basic skills. They needed to know their ABC's, the sounds the letters make, how to count to ten and how to write their name. They needed to be able to tell a story to their friends and listen to others' stories. Now I need them to apply that basic knowledge to recognizing words, recognizing sentences, learning how to apply that phonetic knowledge to the words they see everyday. I need them to take their knowledge of the word "five" and apply it to the quantity, many different ways. I need them to add math words to their vocabulary like "more," "fewer," "most" and "least." I need them to transfer their phonetic knowledge, and their concept of story, and create stories of their own. These new "needs" take much more time than the skills from first quarter.
Reading Workshop once dragged on, now it's over in a flash. Wait, what? Time's up? Newman. We didn't finish. Same for Writing Workshop. Storytelling was fun, but the time could drag on. Now the kids are feverishly writing at their tables and I am amazed when I only get to conference with 2 or 3 kids.
Did I feel this way at this time last year? Or the previous year? How do I not remember?!
I think it's time to revamp my schedule. If it's better on paper, that's half the battle.