The Routine Options
My preference for structure is to go with a workshop approach. Last year, it worked best for me to begin with writing. I always base our writing on a mentor text that models the trait I want my students to practice. I model for them through a shared writing example, anchor papers, and through their writing (with sharing time). The majority of the time should be spent writing (and revising). It’s important that we stress:
Whole Group-15 minutes
Small Group Rotations-
20 minutes x 3
Sharing Session-15 minutes
I love the Daily Five approach and recently saw this model where the small groups run simultaneously with the teacher floating among them. Students have specific responsibilities and groups are differentiated. With this schedule, the teacher can cut down on off task time since there is less movement within the room for transitions IF materials are organized well.
The key is teaching expectations, organization, and group norms. The time schedule would be as follows: