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Deadly Daily Routines

In our busy days, it is often difficulty to find the time to practice and rehearse key knowledge and skills.  How do we fit EVERYTHING into a day that we are supposed to and give children enough supported practice to be effective?  In a previous post I wrote about creating sustainable literacy routines. Daily routines can be a part of this this approach.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I love, love, love the Explicit Teaching Model put together by the NT Department of Education.   It expands on the regular gradual release of responsibility model with the inclusion of ‘building the field’ and ‘supported practice’.  These steps are the missing link in setting our students up for success.  Anyway, enough about my crush on this model.   Today I want to share a little something about the possibilities of daily routines.

You can find this model here

What is a Daily Routine?

A daily routine (often called a morning routine) is a set of activities or mini lessons aimed at building up a skill or firming up knowledge.  It’s the chance to rehearse and revise, to practice and make permanent.  In my recent Teach Along about supporting struggling readers, I talked quite a bit about children who need more exposures to material in order to commit it to long term memory.  A daily routine can be play a significant role in providing these exposures.   

In creating the daily routines I use at the moment, I favour PowerPoint.  It enables me to create it a presentation that lasts the whole week, enables me to provide a large amount of visuals without printing or creating things and prevents me from forgetting to do things.  In the event of another teacher being in front of my students they have a chance of delivering the routine in a similar way to the way that I would.

I am currently teaching a group foundation students who are just learning to blend and count, so our daily routine focuses on the development of these skills.  For an older group, we might focus on building vocabulary, background knowledge, timetables and morphology. 

What can you cover in your daily routine?

Building the Field

  • Share photos of content to introduce ideas
  • Share pictures and/or words to build vocabulary for units to come
  • Recap previously learned knowledge and skills to tune students into the learning to coming
  • Ask stimulus questions to get students thinking in the lead up to new learning

Supported Practice

  • Dates, days of the week etc
  • Handwriting
  • Timestables
  • Counting
  • Basic facts questions
  • Revision questions from previous units of work (in any subject) to help students commit knowledge and skills to long term memory
  • Practicing particular foundation literacy skills such as blending and segmenting
  • Practicing sentence structures that you have taught explicitly
  • Checking for understanding and formative assessment check in for a unit of work currently underway

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take each day?

Daily routine can take 20 – 30 minutes to complete

What age group does it benefit?

All age groups – simply change out the content and skills to suit your students.

Can I use a morning routine PowerPoint from a website?

You can use a template from wherever you like, but it is important that you tailor make your daily routine to suit the needs of your students.  The real power of the daily routine is how closely it meets the needs of the children.

I have distinct groups in my class. How can I differentiate the routine?

Colour coding is a great way to differentiate your practice.

In this case you could sit the children in rows (horizontal or vertical) and ‘train’ them to give a rapid fire response.   All children could answer with the blue group. The white and yellow groups could answer for the white number.  The yellow group can answer the yellow question. In the meantime, the blue and white groups are being exposed to content and knowledge at a higher level, without the expectation that they will be able to engage at those levels on their own.

You can use this approach with phonics, word level reading or spelling.

Doesn’t it take a long time to make?

Providing this kind of targeted and intentional experience does take a commitment.  You have to do it every week and it needs to be specific. However the benefits of the approach far outweigh the time spent making it.    For starters, not having to answer the same questions 47 times because children can’t remember key information is well worth it!  On the other side, providing sustainable routines supports children’s cognitive load.   It also supports you and enables you to focus on the  children in front of you instead of printing and creating a whole heap of resources.

Daily routines have many benefits.  By creating sustainable and predictable (in a good way!) routines you will ensure that your students have the chance to practice until they have committed skills and knowledge to long term memory.  It will also enable you to gently introduce vocabulary and concepts for upcoming learning so that when you are ready to model and deconstruct your unit, students are ready to engage!

To make your life a little easier, I have made unlocked versions of my current daily routine and a maths warm up PowerPoint available for you to download below!

I am pleased to announce that in Term 3 I will be running two Teach Alongs: Supercharging Your Phonics Teaching and Text Based Learning.  You can learn more about these professional learning opportunities and register your interest here.

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