When talking about my weekly routine, there are two aspects— behind the scenes (what I do to get ready for class) and what I do with my students each day.
In this article, I’m going to talk about both so you get an idea of what I do and how I prepare and use my time each day.
One thing I want to make clear is the amount of time that I use for preparation. I’m not one to spend hours after school preparing.
We are required to be at school twenty minutes before the bell and twenty minutes after the bell.
Unless we have a meeting after school, I’m out the door right at that 20-minute mark.
I do, however, get to school an hour and a half before school starts and that’s the only time I have to prepare other than my 40-minute prep period.
I also want to mention, that for the past few years, we have had a serious sub shortage, so my prep period is never guaranteed.
I often have to cover two or more days per week, so when I do get my prep period, I have to make the most of it.
Now, let’s get started!
Once I get to school on Monday, there are two major goals before the first bell rings:
- Check and answer any emails (I don’t check emails on the weekends), and
- Grade any work that I assigned that was due on Friday.
My lesson plans were already created the week before (see later on in the week), so I don’t have to worry about those other than to make sure the Google Slides are up and ready to project at the bell.
During my prep period, I’ll finish any grading or emails I wasn’t able to finish before school started. I’ll then go through any late work that has been turned in and grade that as well. I hate having work piling up, so I want to clear any grading I have to do as soon as humanly possible.
If I’m all caught up on grading, I’ll look ahead and see if there are any assessments I need to create or listenings I need to record and do those.
I start every Monday with a Week-at-a-Glance slide as the students’ warmup. They will copy down the information in their school-provided planner.
I’ll let my students know about any major class announcements and if we have homework (I’m not a big fan of homework), I’ll assign it on Monday and it will be due on Friday.
We then will do our word-of-the-day and our song-of-the-week.
On Mondays, we generally start our aural part of the lesson.
This can take just about any form, but my mainstays are stories, movietalks, and picturetalks.
If we are doing a story, I’ll focus on building the character on the first day and we’ll work on the plot the next day.
On Tuesday, when I get to school, I look to see if I have any unfinished business that I need to get done or any emails I need to answer.
If not, I start to create my lesson “shells” for the next 4 weeks for each of my preps. I currently teach level 1, level 2, and level 3, so I have three preps I need to create “shells” for.
What are “shells”?
These are my lesson slides with the all of the stuff that is not going to change for the next four weeks. These are things like the song-of-the-week, word-of-the-day, warm-up activities, weekly quick-write prompts, weekly reflection-prompts, etc.
I generally have one Google Slide deck per perp per week (each deck contains everything we do for 5 days of school).
So to prep these, I will create my four week’s worth of “shells” in advance as it will make my lesson planning quicker each week.
During my prep on Tuesday, I will continue working on any unfinished business or creating my lesson “shells.”
Tuesday is silent-reading day. We start class with 5-7 minutes of silent reading as our warmup.
I then share any announcements or reminders for the week before we do our word-of-the-day and our song-of-the-week.
The meat of the lesson is to continue our story, movietalk, or picturetalk.
If we’re doing a story, we’re focusing on the plot of the story on Tuesdays.
Before school on Wednesday, I’ll check and address any emails and grade any late assignments.
If I’m finished with that, I’m continuing to work on my lesson “shells.”
If all of that is done, I will look ahead and see if there’s anything I need to do in the next couple of days that I can get started on now.
I’ll continue to work on anything I didn’t get finished before school.
Wednesdays are our short days. Kids get out early because we have weekly PLC meetings for an hour and a half after the kids leave.
This brings our normal 40-ish class periods down to 30-ish minutes. So there’s not a lot of time.
For a warmup, my students will do a practice 5-question quiz about the things we are working on.
This is self-graded and just a reminder to kids what we’re working on and making sure they're on track.
We’ll go over the answers quickly and then move on to our word-of-the-day and our song-of-the-week.
Wednesdays are our conversation days. I’ll pick a weekly question or topic and we’ll spend the rest of the class time talking in the target language.
Before school I’ll check and address any emails or unfinished business and again look ahead to see what I can get done if everything else is complete.
Once everything is up-to-date, I will start my lesson planning for the upcoming week.
I generally can predict what we will get finished in the next two days, so I can create an accurate lesson plan to start on Monday.
Creating lesson plans includes creating a week-at-a-glance for each prep, creating my slide deck for each prep for the week using my “shells” and adding anything specific to the upcoming week, creating any assessments, and updating everything in our learning management system (LMS).
I’ll generally continue working on my lesson plans for the upcoming week.
Thursday is another silent-reading day. The students will start class reading for 5-7 minutes before we do our word-of-the-day and song-of-the-week.
We then do our weekly quick write.
Wednesday marks the start of the literacy part of the lesson.
After our quick write, we will start to read an extended reading (300-500 words) using the grammar and vocabulary we are working on or a written version of our movietalk or picturetalk.
I follow the three steps of reading and this will generally run into Friday.
I start with checking my email and then finish up the lesson plans for the next week.
I’m the department chair, so I’ll create next the agenda for the upcoming PLC and email that out to my teammates.
I’ll also create a “weekly update” email with any important dates, reminders, tasks, etc, that need to get done and email that to my teammates as well.
I’ll then write my weekly emails to both the parents and families and my students.
I like to keep both in the loop, so I’ll just put any reminders in there, what we will be working on in the upcoming week, and let parents know to check the grades if anything was graded in the past week.
I’ll also write a bit of a motivational note in the student’s email.
I schedule the parent and student emails to go out on Sunday.
Once all of that is done, I’ll read through and grade any quick writes.
I only grade one class set per week, so that’s no more than 34 papers a week. The rest I’ll read and write comments on, but not assess for a grade.
I’ll finish up anything left over from before school. Thursdays and Fridays are very busy days for me, so I’m always happy when I get my prep those days.
Our warm-up on Fridays is a reflection question in English.
This question can be just about anything that references their learning in class and I find reading these very valuable in my teaching.
We then continue with the word-of-the-day and song-of-the week before finishing up our literacy piece from the day before.
If we don’t finish what I had planned, I’ll just move it to next week and move everything up.
So that’s my week! I know it’s a lot, but I hope that it helps you to see what I do and how I use my time.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below!
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