Organization & Management

Routines: They’re NOT only for the Children

For the past month we’ve been in Testing Mode at our school. That means, we have a modified schedule for lunch, PE, AND Special Areas. In addition to that, we’ve had to move to a rotating schedule which means some days we have PE and others we don’t. 
In other words, we have LOST OUR ROUTINE and the children are NOT THE ONLY ONES FEELING IT!
I’ve always known that kids need an rely on routines! They like to know what to expect. That’s part of the reason why if I know I’m going to be absent I try to give them a heads-up the day before.
However, it never occurred to me how much I NEEDED and relied on routines… Today I realized that teachers need routines just as much as the kids do. 
So what is a teacher like me to do, when her schedule is forced to go all Topsy Turvy due to testing or the unexpected occurs? 
You know what I’m talking about… like when Admin suddenly tells you you’re going to have to move to another classroom for a few days because maintenance workers need to remove the concrete surrounding one of the windows in your classroom… or something like that!
After the initial frustration and uncomfortableness that comes with the idea of HAVING to leave the comforts of your room or HAVING to step away from your REGULAR ROUTINE, it’s time to 
do what’s best for the children AND your sanity!
Embrace the change and make it work FOR YOU instead of against you.
My normal schedule looks something like this…
I have grown to LOVE it… We have become BFF’s. My students have grown to love it too and know exactly what comes next!
But then this ugly monster called TESTING comes along and this is what our schedule looks like now… notice the RED!
My 2 hours of uninterrupted ELA time is no more….
My mornings are extremely choppy and then after lunch we go straight until dismissal without any breaks. This makes our day seem SO LONG!  
After being in a bad mood for a few days, not knowing why, it finally occurred to me. I was UPSET with the change. I no longer knew what came next. My routine had been changed and I felt out of place.
I had to create our NEW NORMAL because we were going to have to follow this schedule for a few more weeks.
I combated the choppiness in our schedule by using the first 30 min. for reading our story of the week, going over vocab., and spelling. The next 30 min. we dedicate to writing. And the last hour we work in our Guided Groups and have rotations.
This is our NEW ROUTINE! We WILL SURVIVE the last 20 something days of school that we have left.
What about you?
I’d love to hear how you  deal with changes in your routine? 

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