First Grade English Only - Day at a Glance

Required Minutes by Content Area

  Required Minutes
Language Arts -
Foundational Skills
40 min daily
Language Arts -
Reading, Writing, Groups
85 min daily
English Language Development 30 min daily
Math 50 min daily

45 min 4x a week
(alternating by unit)

History/Social Studies
PE At least 100 minutes a week
Arts At least 45 minutes a week
Library At least 30 minutes a week
Morning Meeting 10 min daily
Closing Circle 10 min daily
Health/SEL/Digital Agency 30 min 1x a week
Program Instructional Block 30 min 1x a week


1. Instructional minutes do not equal quiet direct instruction.

  • Learning is active, and, as much as possible, playful and joyful. Teacher talk is minimal and student engagement is prioritized.
  • Learning involves input and practice, but also inquiry, exploration, and collaboration -demonstrating thinking and learning in a variety of ways including meaningful opportunities to apply and transfer learning to new contexts and situations.


2. All learners have limits to deep focus and how much input they can take in at a time.

  • Instructional blocks will need to be broken up into small, meaningful chunks to support students learning.
  • Skill-focused songs, games, and dances should be used throughout the day to provide brain breaks and support a joyful learning environment.


3. Discrete content areas, are shown but cross-curricular learning is critical.

  • Identify opportunities to meaningfully apply and transfer knowledge and skills across content areas.


4. Transitions are part of any block of instructional time.

  • At the start of the year, transitions will take more time and require intentional scaffolding. They will get shorter as the year goes on. 
  • Over the year transitions will become tighter and held by students.


1. Keep the first-grade schedule as consistent as possible from day to day.

  • Routine helps students know what to expect and build a sense of ownership in their classroom.


2.  When possible Literacy Block should be the first block of the day. 

  • Beginning with foundational skills and followed by small-group and reading/writing blocks. 


3.  Any small group instruction should have consistent rotation across the day/week.

  • Keep small group sizes 2-5 students
  • Students who require the most reading support should be seen every day.


4.  The “Program Instructional Block” may be used for any instructional programs not otherwise represented in the schedule.

  • This is site dependent and might include Computer Science, Garden, additional Library time, etc.


5.  Math Block components may be separated and taught at different times of the day


6.  The Science curriculum is designed as three 15-minute activities that may be split up if needed


7.   Schools with a large number of ELLs students should consider their ELD structures.

  • All grades ELD at the same time to include other out-of-the-classroom teachers
  • Or Grade level ELD so students are instructed in their proficient level


Transitions, Morning Meeting, & Closing Circle

Transitions: Whether it is at Closing Circle, at the end of a lesson, at Morning Meeting, or some other time of the day, transitions are opportunities for students to reflect on and share their thinking and learning and to process their experiences. 

  • All transitions between content blocks are academic and social-emotional learning opportunities. Short, content/skill-focused or SEL-focused songs, games, and dances can support building a joyful learning environment throughout the day when used as brain breaks and warm-ups.
  • Transitions should become more efficient and shorter across the school year.   
  • Transition time is built into the daily and weekly schedule, and is considered a component of each time block.


Morning Meeting This is an engaging routine to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. 

  • Each morning, students and teachers gather together in a circle for a warm greeting, short group activity (like a sharing circle), and a morning message. (If you notice a student seems off or might need further support, check in with them one-on-one once other students are engaged in small-group or individual activities.)
  • Morning Meeting leads right into Calendar/Math Routines and then Language Arts Foundational Skills creating a rich and engaging daily morning routine.


Closing Circle: This is an opportunity to bring closure to each day, continue to build classroom community, and gather a sense of student understanding and emotional needs in order to guide planning and prep for the next day. 

  • At the close of each day, students and teachers gather together in a circle for reminders, sharing, and reflection.
  • This can be as simple as hearing from a few students about what they learned or made during a lesson and inviting others to signal connections and differences or asking each student to respond to a simple prompt as they enter or exit a space. 
  • The sharing doesn't always, and shouldn't always, have to be with you either. A quick Think, Pair, Share can give all students the opportunity to share their thinking with someone and support a culture of shared learning.


Resources to Support Brain Breaks & Other Transitions

Daily Schedule

First Grade

8:40Morning Meeting (10 min)
8:50Calendar: Counting & Daily Math Routines (10 min)
9:00Language Arts: Foundational Skills (40 min)
9:40Language Arts: Literacy Centers and Small Group Differentiated Reading Instruction​​​​​ (30 min)
10:10Recess (15 min)
10:25Vocabulary/Build Knowledge or Language (10 min)
10:35Language Arts: Reading (25 min)
11:00Language Arts: Writing (20 min)
11:20Lunch (20 min)
11:40Recess (20 min)
12:00Designated English Language Development (30 min)
12:30Mathematics (40 min)
1:10Social Science/Science (45 min) (Alternating by Unit - 5wk/7wk)
1:55PE (20 min)
2:15Specials (30 min)
2:45Closing Circle (10 min)


Make a copy of the schedule for yourself

This page was last updated on May 31, 2024