Time Management with 30/30I recently found an app that I absolutely adore! It's called 30/30, and while this particular app is only available in iTunes, there's an Android alternative.
This app allows you to set time limits for activities, starting and stopping them whenever you want, rather than based on the time of day. I have mine set up for three 20 minute rotations with 2 minutes of transition time in between and 2 minutes of clean-up at the end. If you get off track or need to go long with a group, you can even pause it, skip ahead, or add/subtract 5 minutes with a tap. It has a unique sound, and my students are trained to swap centers when they hear it! (PS: It's pretty good for blog-post-writing and TPT-creating time too! I set it to remind me to get up and move every half hour!)
Age Appropriate ActivitiesSometimes it's tough to find age-appropriate resources for the Daily 5 activities. In order to keep this post short, I won't go into detail about these, but here are some resources I use on a regular basis in my class:
Read to Self/Read to Someone
Most of our Read to Self and Read to Someone time is spent on self-selected library books. Sometimes, though, my class needs to mix it up a little. These two sites are perfect for upper elementary readers...
Tween Tribune (from the Smithsonian) and NewsELA are both sites that feature news and current events in student-friendly language. What I love about both sites is that they allow students to change the reading level of the articles with one click. There are also quizzes about each article, and teachers can create accounts to assign articles to students!
Listen to ReadingStoryNory is primarily for younger grades, but they do have lots of fables, fairy tales, and other traditional stories. Around Halloween, they even had scary stories!
Storyline Online is another great site with lots of high quality picture books. Many of our mentor texts are on the site!
Work on WritingMost of the time we spend this time actually writing - usually a response to something we've been reading or a fictional work of their own choosing. When students are stuck on ideas, I pull out my big jar of writing topics for them to draw an idea from!
NoRedInk is great for practicing grammar skills. The site asks students for their interests (books, TV, movies, celebrities, etc.) and tailors the sentences/paragraphs to their interests! My class is absolutely loving it this year!
FrontRow and MobyMax. Both allow you to assign specific activities to your students or have them work at their own pace.
Word WorkI had so much trouble finding word work that would engage my 5th graders and actually address the meanings of the words (instead of just spelling patterns) that I made a set of word work activities for them to choose from. These get heavy rotation in my class, and the students love having the freedom to choose the one they want to do each day!
There are lots of opportunities in these activities to work with a partner and to use technology, but you will also find plenty of independent activities as well. Some of our favorite activities are Picture It, Link It, 5 Clues (a partner game played much like 20 Questions), Picture Dictionary, and Vocabulary Story. Use them during Daily 5 or send home activities to do with family members.
I am still looking for more great activities, especially for Listen to Reading and Word Work. If you know of some great resources, share them in the comments!