Wednesday, January 4, 2017

the joy of the plan

Oh winter vacation. It's amazing to me how time to rest, drink copious amounts of coffee, and play with my son make space for recommitting to work life. With a few days left of the winter holiday I find myself planning and thinking about the joy that Monday will bring when I return to work. Okay, okay, it's true I have an especially enjoyable job as a preschool teacher...maybe this would be less true if I were

Today I will simply share a planning document I use that works particularly well for project-based learning. Next week we will begin a new unit of inquiry, in the spirit of project-based learning. You can read more about this way of teaching and learning here. As we will begin the first phase of our project, the focus will be on exploration, which you can see from the simplicity of the initial plan.

One truth I have come to discover over the years is that I have to create my own planning form. I remember during observational visits to other schools I would be intrigued by the planning documents of fellow educators and during my visit to Reggio Emilia...well I was blown away by their planning sheet (If I remember correctly it was on A3 paper!) I meticulously sketched the forms in my journal and took photos...but you know would never completely work for me. It's a personal business - teaching - and it requires knowing and understanding our own needs, learning styles, and organizational styles.

Don't worry all of those sketches and photos are still stored on my book shelf - and in my brain - but they are now my inspiration. The format I use below has bits and pieces pulled from my learnings and experiences of the past but it is the result of fine-tuning over time. I'm sharing it just in case it might be useful inspiration for someone else.

An important element to note is the inclusion of observations and next steps. This planning document is also my tool for recording student dialogue and notes. This year all three teachers in the classroom will have a hard copy of this form to *hopefully* help us to organize and share our observations and ideas for next steps. I would also like to note that this is the daily planning and observing guide but the bigger picture is mapped out in other ways - and in other spaces. To be shared another day!

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