Before diving into Unit 1 of Benchmark Advance, there are several weeks of lessons meant to prepare your students for what’s about to hit them! The lessons included in the Review and Routines teach the students classroom routines, reading strategies, writing strategies, and procedures for “workstations.”
Note: In some editions of Benchmark Advance, these lessons are called Foundations + Routines.
In Kindergarten, first, and second grade, this R & R time lasts for the first 20 days. In third through sixth, it lasts 15 days. Review and Routines is meant to be implemented starting the first day of school. You may be thinking that starting the first day sounds ludicrous, but if you actually take a look at the first few days of lessons, you’ll see that they’re pretty applicable to the first day and first week of school. You’ll find many of the themes you already like to teach in the beginning of the year, such as, how to: transition from one thing to the next, turn and talk to a partner or buddy, take care of classroom supplies, and how to work collaboratively.
There are big books that come with the curriculum for grades K-2 that you can use to teach the Shared Reading lessons. The TRS may say there is a suggested read aloud list for grades 2-6, but I haven’t ever been able to find it. I personally like to use my own favorite picture books to teach these lessons. Some teachers like to use a novel each day.
A Typical Day
During the first 15-20 days, your Review and Routines time will look something like this.
- Establish Routines: this is where you teach students how to transition between lessons and whole/small group. This is also where you will build your classroom environment and community.
- Shared Reading/Read Aloud: this is where you will teach students how to choose the right book for independent reading and specific strategies for reading and annotating. In grades 3-6, this is followed by “Independent Reading” time to practice building stamina.
- Shared Writing/Write to Sources: this is where you will teach students how to respond to text by writing using the three main types of writing – narrative, informational, and opinion. In grades 3-6, this is followed by “Independent Writing” time to practice response to text writing, or “writing to sources.”
The workstation routines are established towards the second half of your R & R days. These are your centers during small group time, and are set up very similarly to Daily 5 centers. It’s imperative that workstations are set up properly, because this will allow you to truly implement Reader’s & Writer’s Workshops in your class. Without this differentiated time – if you live in whole group every day – the entire program will fall flat.
The workstations that Benchmark suggests setting up are: Reading Workstation, Writing Workstation, Listening Workstation, and Computer Workstation. I’ve adapted them for my own workstations: Read-to-self, Word Work, Technology, and Writing. You can use any workstations that you prefer. You can read more about my workstations here.
I have created several resources that are useful during this Review & Routines times, many of which are available for free. After the first 15-20 days, many these resources can be used for workstations. Check out the bundles for a complete pack of resources to get your workstations established and running smoothly all year long.