A Typical Day in ELA


Book StackStatus of the Class     

When students come in and are seated, while they are getting out any assigned work, I take the Status of the Class. Basically, I have students tell me (daily) what book they are reading and what page they are on. If they finished their book, they tell me it’s done and what their new book is titled. The students look forward to this each day because they like to share how much they are reading each night. (I ask them to read a minimum of 30 minutes every night – yes, even on weekends)

Word Work

This is anything from Spelling, Vocabulary, and Grammar. Usually for Spelling they have an assignment each night that we go over the next day during this time. Assignments are sorting words, analogies, fill in the blank w/in a story, definitions, and more.  

For Vocabulary, I’m going to be changing it a bit this year. I’m going to be creating my own lists. They will consist of 4 CCSS words, 4 academic words, 2 anchor text words. We will work with them for 2 weeks, using them in sentences, drawing images, synonyms/antonyms, etc. Then they will take a quiz over the words – the quiz will not be just a matching to definition type, they will have to actually use the words correctly and apply them to the skills we have been doing (ex: Using your independent reading book, cite 2 examples of attributes that your main character has demonstrated so far.)

For Grammar, this will not be daily – I’m thinking Tuesdays and Thursdays (but that may change). We will work on a skill, use it often, then a short assessment to see if they can use it correctly. The assessment will be open-ended – like write a short story (paragraph) and make sure to demonstrate descriptive adjectives 5 times. Underline where you feel you have used them best.


This will (probably) alternate between Reading lessons (strategy/skill/focus) on Mondays and Wednesdays, and then Writing lessons (skill/focus) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays there will be no mini-lesson. 

Independent Read/Write

My students LOVED this part of the day. This was when they could go anywhere in the room and read their independent book or write on any topic they wanted to choose. Giving my 5th graders this freedom made them really enjoy coming to my class. This year it will have a smidgen more structure. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students will have to do independent read – for at least 20 minutes. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students will have to do independent write – for at least 20 minutes. The other 10 minutes or so of this time, they can read or write.

This is also the time when I will call over a small group to work on either the reading or writing skill they need extra help learning.

On Fridays, this time will be completely student choice of either read or write. 

Share Out

This will be a quick time to either share what they are reading/just finished reading, or what they are writing. I might do a sign-up for this, but I’m not quite sure. I wanted to do this last year, but I kept running out of time. This year I’m really going to strive to stay on schedule.

Exit Slip

I’m going to try to use this daily, basing it on our essential question of the day for ELA. Either demonstrating the skill or rating themselves on the skill and explaining why they feel that way.


Hope this helped some of you. Any questions or comments, feel free!


2 thoughts on “A Typical Day in ELA

  1. Jessica James says:

    Thank you so much for the suggestions. Would you mind offering some insight on how you might modify this schedule for a class period of only 54 minutes? I teach Reading only as my co teacher teaches Grammar, Spelling and Writing. I’ve been teaching with these time limitations for six years now and still can’t determine the best way to manage my time. Thank you for taking the time to share your input.

    • Renee says:

      Jessica – When I first started teaching I taught Reading in a 45-50 minute period (7th graders), so I know what you are talking about. Then there have been years when I’ve had an hour to teach Reading AND Writing. It’s crazy to fit everything into a small amount of time. If I had to take the above times and fit it into 54 minutes I’d probably do Status of the Class during the independent time – I would just go around quietly and ask them to update me. Word Work would be cut to 10 minutes – very focused on vocabulary/mentor sentences. Mini-Lesson would be 10-15 minutes, again, very focused on a small specific item (ex: character attributes – maybe combined with word work). I would try to keep independent read/write to at least 20 minutes, so students can apply what you’ve taught. For Share Out and Exit Ticket – I might alternate between them depending on what I’ve taught or reviewed that day. Either one can give you a quick glimpse as to what kids have learned. I hope that helped. :)

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