The BEST kindergarten daily schedule to help you fit it all in! Academic and developmentally appropriate activities that will keep your kindergarten students engaged throughout the school day!
kindegarten schedule sample
Kindergarten Schedule Overview
Here it is! That moment when kindergarten teachers look at all of your ideas and try to figure out HOW to fit it all in! Here are my tips for the BEST kindergarten schedule to start your school year off great!
This post will be an overview of our day… If I went into great detail in this post… whew… it would read like a novel. At the end of this post, you will find additional information about the different components of our academic schedule. that may be useful! But let’s start by looking at what my kindergarten classroom looked like during the last year I taught full day kindergarten.
8:00-8:30 Morning Work
So, my students walk in the door, anywhere between 8:00 and 8:30. Most of the students ride the bus, so they all arrive at different times. We also offer breakfast from 8:00 to 8:30, so students filter into the cafeteria. I really can’t have a lesson for this time, so I have “morning work” as part of our daily routine. It has to be predictable, engaging, and meaningful. Therefore, I usually have a few options that I rotate in throughout the week.
We start with tracing the sentence at the beginning of the year. Then quickly move on to writing the sentence (around mid-September). I support them at first with reading the sentence (but I make them use the pictures to figure out the word “pencil”.) Soon, the students are independent and SO PROUD that they can read the sentences on their own. You can find a gazillion versions of these Read, Trace, Glue, Draw pages HERE… or snag the ENDLESS bundle HERE.
We also love practicing our letters (and sight words) with these editable activity sheets for my little learners.
When students finish their morning work, they grab their dessert tub (thank you Cara Carroll for that term.) You can read about how these work in THIS post… Click HERE.
8:30-8:40 Calendar Time
Then it is time to do our “Calendar.” Listen… our calendar is not like your traditional calendar.
We certainly introduce it at the beginning of the year, but it is not something you will hear me doing in October and November… they have it…! Instead, we spirally review literacy and math skills. I model it with our document camera and students also do the work with their version.
Each day is slightly different but there is a predictable pattern to this daily activity. Around November, my student of the day leads this and I walk around and support students. EVERY student is working. EVERY student is learning. No beauty shop or shoe repairman time here allowed. You can find these morning activities here:
8:40-8:50 Shared Reading and Phonemic Awareness
We love our poetry time! Each week we start a new poem. We practice it for fluency and also work on a plethora of literacy skills. You can read more about my 5-day fluency plan here:
Check out these fun videos that match the poems! You can find all the music and videos by clicking below!
8:50-9:20 Phonemic Awareness & Explicit Phonics Instruction
We start this block of time with some phonemic awareness practice. We love following Deanna Jump’s program.
We then move onto our explicit phonics instruction. Students learn letters, path of motion and how words work!
9:20-9:50 Science of Reading
This is the time we practice our fluency drills, dictation, and learn new high frequency words. We do a ton of blending and segmenting of words during this whole group time. We also work on orthographically mapping words. Using the Science of Reading approach is the best way to prevent learning delays in early childhood education. So much time has historically been spent on reading interventions, when prevention in early learning can make all the difference. Often times students with special needs are not identified in kindergarten, but if your school district or kindergarten program includes the Science of Reading you will find a decrease in those groups of students who need special education for reading instruction.
You can find this instruction here:
Students also have a decodable text each week that reviews the sounds, blending, and concepts they are working on for the week.
Sometimes we use a printable book, but other times we use the digital version.
Aww… teacher prep time… right? WRONG! This is the time to have meetings… virtually every second is filled with a mandatory task. Sigh… sometimes we even get to use the restroom! BONUS!
10:30-11:10 Small Group Reading, and Literacy Centers Round
I love small group instruction. This is the time when my students go to their literacy centers and I pull small groups for reading instruction. I start reading groups each year around the 4-6th week of school. We spend the first 4-6 weeks learning how to work independently at centers.
Students spend 20 minutes at each rotation. I pull students from their stations or centers to meet with me for small group.
At my table we do word work, high-frequency word work, blending practice, and read a text. We also work on decoding and encoding words.
Here is a peek at our decodable readers. Small group is a great time to practice these skills. Research tells us that students need additional time practicing these skills to make them permanent and transferable. So we need a variety of books students can use to gain confidence with applying the phonics skills they learned in our whole group instruction.
We also know that some students may need to see a skill 3-5 times, while others with language learning differences might need 20-30 exposures to a skill.
In addition to blending and reading the text, we also want to include vocabulary development. We also want to be sure we are encoding and not just decoding words. We include dictation practice.
You can learn about our decodable readers by clicking here:
Quick Handwriting Practice
In between rotations, we add a quick handwriting practice.
After all of the letters have been taught, we move onto 1-minute timings for muscle memory practice! Minute to Win It! is one of our favorites! It makes handwriting practice fun!
11:10-11:50 Writers Workshop
Writers workshop is the best time of the day. This is writing time This sacred and I have found that my students loved to write for long periods of time with the right type of writing instruction. There is so much to be said about our workshop time… so check out this blog post to read all about it!
11:50-12:40 Lunch and Recess!
Yay! Run! Play! Kindergarten children (and their teachers) need a good brain break… or two… or three!
12:40-1:20 Whole Group Reading, Vocabulary Work, and Interactive Writing
Again… this is a HUGE topic. Check out this blog post about interactive read alouds:
Although we ALWAYS recommend teaching an interactive read aloud lesson with the actual book, having another model of reading fluency is wonderful and Storyline Online is an excellent resource.
TIP: Have the students come to the carpet with all of their supplies (notebooks, lapboards, crayon/pencil box). During your lesson have them sit on their notebooks and lapboards and train them to not fiddle with their crayon box. Then when they are ready to respond in writing you will not waste the transition time.
1:20-1:40 Content Area Studies
Yes! We do science and social studies. Oftentimes… our topics tie into what we are reading. Deanna and I had fun creating Science and STEM activities that match up with the Engaging Readers books.
Here is a blog post all about Engaging Readers Science, Math and STEM!
Click below to see our Engaging STEM units:
Yay! Yes… you get to go play AGAIN! RUN! PLAY!
2:00-2:30 Whole Group Math
My district had a kindergarten curriculum that was NOT hands on learning. OY! So Deanna Jump and I created our own that we started on the first day of school. Our students have had great success! More on how math workshop looks in our kindergarten day by clicking:
2:40-2:50 Math Journals
We love our math journals and they are so easy to fit into your kindergarten schedule… they are FAST! 10 minutes TOPS!
I cut out the journal prompts and the students glue them in their journals directly… want more on how I do math journals quickly? Here is a blog post all about math journals in kindergarten:
We have literacy journals, too! Click here:
2:50-3:20 Math Centers (My intervention and small group math time)
Eek! We love math stations so we make sure to include it in our daily kindergarten schedule! This is where we “play” [um… they learn, but it feels like play.] Students over-learn skills in math stations. In this way, they don’t lose proficiency in one skill when we move onto another skill in our whole group math. Just Roll With It stations can be found here. (Students LOVE the cube!) Additionally, because it was the end of the day, I wanted something super engaging to keep those tired kindergarten students excited.
This activity is from this unit: Math Task Cards for Kindergarten.
What does a Half Day Kindergarten Schedule Look Like?
Sigh… It makes my heart hurt to think about fitting it all in! However, I would suggest the following:
- Combine your stations into only one time. Make half of your activities literacy based, the other half math based.
- Alternate Writer’s Workshop with Whole Group Reading/Interactive Writing.
FREE EDITABLE KINDERGARTEN SCHEDULE
Don’t panic! You’ve got this! You CAN fit it all in!!!
Oh how I love thee…let me count the ways!! I am just getting to the point in planning where I need to iron out my schedule- so this was perfect timing! I can’t wait to hear what you and Deanna are cooking up for Content Area Studies- sign me up! I feel like that is an area that goes to the back burner, but I don’t want it to! It’s important too- but like you said, how do we fit it all in!?!
I’m so glad this is helpful. I THINK we will have it ready to go by the first week in August. We are pretty excited!
Deedee, does your school not have specials? (art, music, P.E. etc.) Ours is 50 minutes long, so that takes up a lot of time.
Yes, they sure do. I have it listed in my post. 50 minutes here too!
Super excited for some science and social studies!
Do you not have free choice centers such as blocks and housekeeping ?
Yes, we have a free choice time throughout the week. We sometimes swap one of the math center rotations for this time.
I’m a newer kinder Kinder teacher (2nd year) and struggling a bit. Most of my students are low or barely know their sounds, then I have 1 advanced 2nd grade level reader in my class as well. I’m struggling to differentiate for him, so he’s not bored or stagnant. Any blogs or tips to help with those highly advanced students amidst a low class?
I’m sorry I missed this comment earlier.
YES! Guided reading would be perfect for this guy!
Here is a blog post that might help:
This is soooo perfect! Now you will have to help me come up with the perfect half day schedule! Ha! Ha!
Love all your ideas and I feel like I’m heading towards a schedule like yours. But trying to clear out the bumps that I’ve encountered along the way. During your guided reading/ literacy time how many groups do you meet with a day? How often do rotate the stations you have set up for them? Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas and suggestions!
Love, love, love this post!!
I have been a long time reader but have never commented. I just love your blog! Thank you for always posting things that are on my mind:) This post is especially helpful since I will be re-evaluating our K schedule for the upcoming year.
I love all your ideas. Do you have any suggestions for making this work for a half-day schedule in a very small room? How would you prioritize?
For half day I would do just one station time. I would mix math with literacy activities during that time. You might also want to alternate writers workshop with the reading response/interactive writing.
Bless your heart! This is such a challenge for you I am sure!
Idea for math journals…I do them too! What works for me is to print the journal prompt on address labels then I can quickly scoot around and hand the labels to the students to stick in – no glue!
I have heard of others doing that, but I am cheap! Ha! I print out all the prompts, but only use 20 a month. It is hard for me to know which ones I want to use until I see how they did on the last one… so I would end up throwing the unused labels away. I would CRY! ha!
This was such a great post that will come in very handy this year to compare to since we are finally moving to Readers Workshop and leveled groups.
You are truly a blessing and so helpful to so many. Thanks for sharing!
It was great to finally meet you at the TPT Conference.
Thank you so much!!!!
Your kids and you have a really long day…at least longer than we do. Are the little ones able to keep up with this schedule or do you have a rest time at the beginning?
Yes! It is a full day. My students didn’t seem to have a hard time. We did have a bit of rest time for the first 4 weeks. Then we hit the ground running… ha! A few times students fell asleep, but they were sick or had a tough night the night before. I just gave them a blanket and they would rest in our class library or go to the nurse.
Thank you for your info…. I too, like many on this post, am so happy for your input into our classrooms. Thank you for all that you do!! 🙂
This post was great! The video was super cute!! You girls are AMAZING!!! Makes me even more excited for the new school year!!!
Thank you friend!!!! I hope you have a fantastic YEAR!
Love it!! Thank you so much for sharing your hard work and talent with fellow teachers. Your passion is so greatly appreciated. Such an inspiration!!
I am very impressed with your blog. I am curious about your use of technology with the students. I noticed you did not mention them ever being on the computer. Please share your thought on that.
Great question! We use our computer all day in fact. My students and I use my iPad to connect to the interactive white board throughout the day. We also have two stations that are computer/iPad station rotations. Additionally, we go to the computer lab during our specials time and I had the opportunity to bring the rolling computer lab to my room… which we did frequently. Thank you for asking the question!
Do you have suggestions for half day kindergarten? My district is not on board with full day. They continue to add academic content saying it’s only a 10 minute lesson, but with school being from 8:45-11:30 & 1:45-3:10 it’s getting tougher to get everything in!!
I just edited my post and added a few suggestions for half day… Bless you!
Deedee!! Thanks so much for this great post! Seeing your schedule and how you did fit it all in is a great way for me to assess my day with me kinder cubs. The timing for this was just PERFECT!! I am a super fan of yours and I really appreciate how you went step by step to show each section of your school day!! I am so thankful for teachers like you and Deanna who help little ole kindergarten teachers like me be the best that we can be. 🙂
You are so welcome! Thank you!!!!!!
Thank you so much for sharing all of your great ideas! Do you schedule in a time for “free choice” centers, or is this a thing of the past? Once again, thank you for sharing your knowledge!
Wow! I have taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade here in Oklahoma. I am just now starting my journey teaching Kindergarten in Texas! This post has REALLY come in handy! I will refer to it often!!! I have decided to revamp my blog and post about the adventures in Kinder-Land as well as discuss real life lessons learned. I hope you would check it out! Thank you again for this post, it is helping give me a better picture of what I can expect during my day!
I just love your blog! This schedule is great – I wish I could fit it all in! My Kindergarten program is at a private urban school – our day starts at 9:30 and goes until 3, we spend a half hour on lunch and an hour nap (last year anyway..this year I’m hoping my group can handle a 30 minute rest period instead). The advantage though is that we get almost an hour of that much needed outside time! Fitting it all in is tough, especially when most of your students come in behind!
This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information. thank you very much.
If only I had the extra hour you have every day!!!! Our day is 9:00-3:10. We really don’t start instruction until almost 9:30 and walkers are dismissed at 3:15. We HAVE to have 30 minutes for recess (lunch is another 30mins) I just have not found a way to get it all in. Most blogs I have read have that extra hour.
AWW! That sure makes it hard when your day is shortened. So, then… I would think about what is essential to keep in… then shave a few minutes off of each activity. One thing that is a HUGE helper is to set a timer. I did it for a week when I was feeling dragged down and running out of time. I had an extra 20 minutes of the day… it was amazing!… I don’t recommend the timer until October. We all know that those first few weeks are a party and a half!
When do the children play or have choice time in the room? Do you have unit blocks, dramatic play, or small motor toys? Thanks!
When do you start those calendar books?
I start the calendar the first two weeks of school. Then the students get their OWN one to follow along on the 1st of September. That way they have had a chance to see how they work because we have modeled how to complete them on the the document camera. Does that make sense?
Do you staple each calendar book by units? Do the kids mark the page where they left off?
Hi there! Yes! I do staple a month together at a time. I select a variety of pages (about 20) for the month.
I don’t really have to point out where we left off. It only gets confusing if a student is absent for a period of time. The others help them find the right page though. It has been REALLY simple!
Great!! Thanks deedee!!
You are amazing! I love all of your ideas. Any plans to make videos for poetry unit 1?
Thank you Jenny! We are trying to make videos for the 1st edition, but it has been a bit of a struggle 🙂 We have not given up yet!
Can you please tell me where I can find the math puzzles shown in your post above? I purchased the “math stations” and that center is not in that one. I would really like to use that with our little kinders.
Thank you so much!!!
Hi there! It is in my Nursery Rhyme unit. You can find that in the link below.
I notice your Guided reading and literacy station time takes almost an hour (8:45-9:40). However, you said that you do two stations 20 minutes a piece. What are you doing the other 15 minutes. I’m really liking your schedule but I’m still having trouble fitting it all in so I’m just curious. Thanks!!!
GREAT QUESTION! So in between their first and second station we meet again. I always ask, “What did you do today to be a better reader or writer? Are there any problems I need to be aware of?” This is their rat-their-partner-out-time or their chance to tell me if the station needed something (paper or tech issues).
We also might take a brain break.
Do you have any free choice time? Dramatic play? I know many districts have taken this away from kindergarten. So sad! Just curious if thats the case in your school.
Yes, we have time during the last part of the day. Often times we forgo the second math rotation. However, I will say that we play all day long 🙂
Wow I wish I had as much time in my day as you do. I have to get all of what you do in half the amount of time. My students are in class from 8:45-1:05 with 45 mins for lunch, with only five minutes of recess if they’re lucky, and one fifteen minute recess. So just over three hours to get it all in and we’re a STEM school so we have that to work into our day as well. We can only keep low students after for an hour and no more than six can stay in a given block. I’m so jealous.
I love seeing all the great things you do in your classroom! I was curious about where I could find the Playdoh number mats that are shown in the post. Thanks!
Hi there! Thank you so much!
You can find those activities by clicking on this link:
Wow, that is a long day, I teach first grade and we get outnat 2:35, every Tuesday we are out at 12:45. No wonder I can’t get everything done!
Yes! We are moving!!!!
This is EXTREMELY helpful ( and gives me hope) as a first year kindergarten teacher!
Thank youuuuuu I very much appreciate this 🙂
You are so WELCOME!!!!
So much to do and so little time, literally, Our first 5 weeks of school our students come 8:05-11:45… trying to figure out a good schedule for them…I just cant seem to fit everything in.. so what would you recommend??? I feel literacy and math should be our focus… recess is from 10:00-10:15… can you recommend anything to help?
I’m sorry! I wish I did have a suggestion… that is crazy! I would focus on routines for the first 5 weeks. 3 hours a day seems like it would be hard to gain any momentum.
Do you not do snack?
We sure do! Students take them out with them to recess.
I have 2 hours and 10 minutes for our reading block. 810-840 is a district required phonics/handwriting practice called CARE. 840-920 is whole group reading, which is usually a read aloud and some follow up activity like sequencing, comprehension, etc. 920-950 is writing and 950-1020 is literacy centers. Then we have a 5 minute morning wrap up before lunch. I feel like my literacy block is so fast paced and we don’t get to anything. By the time we get to writing and they start writing, our time is up. Also, I have an incredibly talkative class that spend so much time talking during writing that it takes 20 minutes to write 1 sentence and illustrate it. In years past, it has never taken that long. Any ideas for fitting everything into a 2 hour block? I noticed that yours is closer to 3.
I think your best bet is to see what is important. I embed phonics work into my small group lessons. In this way, I can keep the instruction within the students’ zone of proximal development. Perhaps you could talk to your administration about differentiating your phonics instruction so it is more effective (vs… one size fits all… which is not considered best practices).
I would take 30 mins from the CARE instruction and add it literacy centers so you could meet with 2-3 small groups. Then I would take the remaining 10 mins and put it towards writers workshop.
Yes, we had a healthy literacy block because that is what research suggests is best for early learners. We were able to integrate content areas like science and social studies through our literature, so we were able to do double duty.
I just bought your small group math and I already use the guiding kinders math. Do you have a schedule for how you use them together. I guess my struggle is lesson planning. Do you teach all of the units in order? Do you pick and choose? Really I need your lesson plans for the whole year!!! I am struggling!
Hi Angie! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! I used them as an intervention when students need additional practice or when students are so far above the rest of the class that they need a challenge. So when I’m teaching my whole group, I can see who needs additional support. Then I pull that group of students and apply the lessons accordingly. Does that make sense?
How far in advance to you post your lesson plans? I teach first grade but would love to have them and tweak them for first grade. We’ve done pumpkins this past week, so what will be your Nov. 5-9th plans?
I try to post them a bit ahead. I just posted Week 14. I should be posting Wemberly Worried for Week 15 this Saturday.
Play where is it? I won’t give it up.
I love your blog! I was wondering how many groups you meet with each day and for how long?
So how often do you meet with each group each week?
Currently I meet with all of my students everyday, but I don’t feel like I am getting the most “bang for my buck”.
I met with 3 groups a day for 20-25 mins each. I meet with 2 groups during literacy center time, and 1 literacy group during my math center time. I had anywhere between 5-6 groups.
Unless you have a trained para in your room, it would be almost impossible to deliver a quality lesson to every student, every day. So I agree with you. I hope that helps.
I see from a previous comment that you have free choice time every day. Unstructured play is such an important piece of 5 and 6 year old’s educations. It would be great if you would highlight this as an important part of fitting it all in. Especially for those who are just beginning their careers in early childhood education. I love all of the ways you promote hands on learning, but nothing can replace unstructured free play. It is important for that message to be communicated by the experts (early childhood education teachers ) so we don’t continue down the road of schedules that are too rigorous and not developmentally appropriate.
Yes, I hear many teachers lament, “My kids don’t get to play.” which makes me worried about what type of activities that are happening in the classroom. Yes, I agree, children are too structured as they are rushed from soccer to dance and then to piano lessons. Then when they are given “free time to play” it often looks more like screentime. I would encourage you to openly explore academic articles that debunk the myth that students are not capable of having a happy, healthy, developmentally appropriate kindergarten that also provides academic growth. The art of teaching happens when the teacher sees what each child needs and invites them to step into that new challenge. It looks different for every student. Here is an article I most recently read that you may find helpful:
Kindergarten classes are getting more academic. New research says the kids are all right.
Naturally, teachers can find research to help support their own beliefs. I like to take notice of what is actually happening in my classroom and adjust my pace to match the needs of my students.
I sure hope this helps!
My intention was not to imply that academics are not developmentally appropriate for kindergarten students. What I was pointing out is that the importance of providing time for self-directed play should also be highlighted as a priority in every kindergarten schedule. The over-scheduled time after school that kids are experiencing is not what I am referring to; although that mindset speaks to the trend of removing play time from the school day. It is about early education teachers advocating for students and supporting their need to have the opportunity to learn to problem solve and socialize with guidance when needed. It is also important for students to have that time to decompress from the rigors of what we are expecting them to accomplish each day. My students do all the academics–small guided reading groups, large group reading/vocabulary/phonics, hands-on math activities, hands-on literacy activities, guided and independent writing and they make huge growth throughout the year. We do this without giving up dedicated free choice time along with three recesses every day. It just honestly makes me sad to see this important aspect of learning not being prioritized in so many school districts. I would be interested in hearing the reasons not to support and advocate for self-guided play for 5 and 6 year old children (other than meeting standards). Thanks in advance for posting my reply!
I am going to be doing 12 centers also with 24 students and 2 in each group. We do 4 centers a day for 15 minutes. I am trying to figure out how to set up my rotations so that they do to 10 centers two times in a week and the other 4 only once. Any suggestions?!
Do you think this blog post might help you?
How many activities are at each center? How often do you change out the independent center activities? How many kids are at a center at a time? Do you make sure that all the kids get a chance to visits all of the independent centers? Thanks so much!!!
Hi there, I have a link to a blog post in this post that will answer all of your questions on how I manage centers.
I just purchased the NYMSW and your decodables bundles. Engaging readers are in my cart. EEKK! My brain is on overload, so this blog post helped with how to fit it all in. The photo with your labeled dividers for the decodables caught my eye, and the ocd organizer in me has to have them. 🙂 Did I miss them in the decodable bundle! Where can I find them? Thank you!
The labeled dividers are available in the “Bonus” folder in the bundle download. After you extract that file, you will see a PDF for each set of decodable readers.
Thank you for sharing your experience and guidance on this wonderful blog! It has been my lifeline since taking over teaching a K/1 class in mid-November! Small groups are going well but I am having trouble figuring out how to differentiate my whole group instructional time for phonemic awareness, phonics and math. Some of my firsties are for sure benefiting from the review of concepts they learned last year but there are several that are not engaged because they “already know it”. Any suggestions on how to pull those kids in?
I am going to send you an email.