Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How Do You Plan?


Jessica Standford is having a giveaway for a gift certificate to Erin Condren for those who blog about how they plan.

First of all, I know we are very lucky.  No one comes in to look at my plans: they are actually just for me!  I can write them in any form and with as much detail as I want.  I can do them weeks in advance or (shh!) write something down after it has already occurred (really, this never, um, seldom happens to me!)

I actually have plans written up for the first six weeks of school on my website (on the sidebar).  I share them with my team and they do whatever they want with them.  We all teach differently, we have different kids, and we go forward at different paces but it is nice to have some common goals.  I didn't make up these plans-we have been teaching together for a long time and we planned most of them together (but I did type them.  Ta Da!).

Every year, I dust them off over the summer and redo them a little.  I add in the fun new things I have found, take out what doesn't work anymore, and try to wrap my mind around our new schedule (we get a new schedule every year.  I am not kidding.  We have lunch at a new time every year.  Just in case we were getting bored, I guess.)

I plan math by quarter (like many of you, we adopted the new Common Core standards last year so all our math planning changed).  Our county gives us Investigations and we use some of their activities and some of our own in our math tubs.  We found the pace was a little slow for our kids (and us!) so we modified.  We decide on 16 or so math tubs for the quarter and fill them up all at once at the beginning of the quarter.  Then I plan large group activities that will meet the standards and what resources we have, then I fill those in my plan book weekly, based on my kids' needs.  Lots of books and games and hands on activities.  Fun.

I use Daily Five for reading.  After I get the workshops up and running (in October sometime), I plan the strategy/guided reading groups based on my assessments (endless).  I do not write out a new plan for each group every day.  I know the standards I want each group to meet (say learn word families or beginning sounds) and I just write that.

My reading groups follow a similar format each time.  I meet with the kids, we read and discuss a small book (or two).  With my higher groups, once a week they do a written follow up to reading (like a sentence about the problem/solution) or we write sentences on the white boards (for some reason, they love this!)

  I dictate a sentence, they write it, then they give themselves a star for using correct punctuation, spelling, and upper/lowercase letters.  They get to draw stars on the whiteboards. Amazing!  Wow!  Then they erase and we do another one.  I would like to believe that I am instilling these higher skills in my kids but as all teachers know, what they do with my prompting and what they do by themselves are two different things!  Also, one word of caution, if the sentence or the words get too hard for their level, they lose all of the nice conventions.  When they are struggling, very little will remain of the upper/lower, periods, etc.  Always a good lesson for me to find their Proximal Zone, right?  hehe

We integrate Science and Social Studies (yay!  Just like Common Core says to!  Yay again!  It is also what our county says to do so we are golden! )
Remember Themes?  From when you went to college and they told you to teach themes?
Well, we do.
Sort of.
We use our science and social studies for our themes some of the time.
Friendship (check)
Weather (check)
Famous Americans (check)
Living things (check)

See, it works.

(Um, don't look at our theme of Halloween, okay?)
So not all of the themes are related to Sci/SS.  But we try.

So we read books, make charts, have art projects (gasp), sing songs, write class books, etc. about our themes.  Love Kindergarten!!!!

Whole child learning!!!

So, most of that is sketched out and we fill it in weekly.
Except I keep looking at blogs and finding more stuff to do and no one wants to stop doing the olds stuff and we end up trying to do too much.  sigh.  It is all a balancing act, isn't it?

Check out how other people plan at Mrs. Stanford's blog.


And don't forget to enter the Pete the Cat giveaway!


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