In May, I wrote a post about “preschool” planning here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/05/25/notes-for-preschool-planning/, plans for fourth grade: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/05/22/plans-for-fourth-grade/, and this post about planning: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/05/05/may-time-to-plan/
I think, finally, I have the blocks for my seventh grader mapped out. It was a lot of wrestling with the curriculum, which I shall write about at some point. In the meantime, while I was wrestling with what blocks and where, I wrote out a general flow for six of the blocks, knowing the order and such would evenutally come.
I haven’t done much for fourth grade yet, other than to lay out a general flow to the school year, but I have planned our Local Geography block and started to put together a flow for math for the entire year.
I have been focusing on my five year old kindergartener this year and have all the weeks of the school year mapped out for rhythm and festivals. Now I am going back and adding in the details of what we will paint, craft, bake, make for festivals and am about three quarters of the way through the school year. The last step will be to create a circle to start our day and pick the verses and songs we will use every week to open activities.
Once again, the basic steps that I use to plan, (and everyone does it differently!):
1. Go through some of the preliminary steps regarding thinking and meditating on each month of the year, how did I feel, what got slow this year, what went fast, how did we feel. Spend some time in thinking about where the children are right now, what are their strengths, what do they need to work on, what goals do I have for the upcoming school year for us as a family and for each child and what is my child most interested in.
2. Divide a large piece of paper into twelve squares (or you could create a circle) (or do both!) and write down festivals, feasts, special things for each month, stories and activities that you usually do during those months, brief ideas. Our year is devised around the liturgical year as well as seasonal activities.
3. Bring out a calendar and decide start and end dates, dates of vacation or days off. This year, I tried to take a Monday or Friday off each month so we could have a long weekend.
4. Decide the general order of blocks for each grade. I write these on my monthly calendar.
4. You can then read the materials for each grade or block and start to plan the general flow of each block by week , day or just a general start to end flow. Then start thinking about hands on projects, and what you will draw or paint or model in conjunction with the block. For a kindergartener (five year old or six year old year), you can start to lay out a general flow of a rhythm to your week, start picking stories and thinking about what puppetry you will use or props.
5. Last step for the grades is to flesh out each block in detail. Many teachers will make a main lesson book of their own for the block. What will be the summaries, the paintings or drawings or projects, for older children what will be done in terms of independent writing for that block? I have a rising seventh grader and for that grade, this is a big thrust of the year.
6. For older children, decide what work can be done independently to start the morning, or what they can do whilst you are teaching other children – especially if they are in middle school and have a bit more to do. Younger children, of course, can play!
7. For kindergartners, the last step is to plan your circle time, pick out verses for the activities you will do each week, and create puppets or props as needed.
Keep planning and coming along. If you have a blog and have written any posts about planning, please do link in the comment box below.