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Planning 101

Plan the month

The beauty of planning for a month is that you don't have to change out all of your toys, games, books and pictures every week, but instead can leave them out over the whole month because the sub-themes have a common broad theme.  Also, when you plan for a month, you can plan according to your children's interests.  If you find while doing a theme on WATER that your children are more interested in learning about animals that live in water rather than learning about uses for water then you can steer your subsequent lesson plans in that direction.  When you do the theme again you will have different children and probably have different interests that may cause your lesson plans to go in a different direction.  This allows you the freedom of planning to the children's interests while still having control over the basic theme.

Plan the week

The monthly calendar tells the basic small group activity you will be doing as well as the skills you will be working on during that activity.  A weekly lesson plan will give details of the activities you are planning and also tell other things about your day such as songs you will sing, books you will read and things you will do outside.  Plan on posting you monthly calendar, but keep your weekly lesson plan handy to help you remember your plans for the day.

Plan the day

While ideally it would be great to have a different lesson plan every day, it is at times impractical.  If you choose to do a lesson plan each day I have a daily lesson plan you can print out.  Just fill it in like you did the weekly lesson plan.  Do a daily plan instead of a weekly plan.  Doing both is redundant and time consuming and we can all testify that teachers don't have any "extra time" to waste.  There are some things you can do daily however that help you with observation and assessment.

Getting ready for next month

As the month comes to a close, take some time to transfer your monthly observations from the forms to the developmental checklist.  When you plan the theme for the next month, use the information from the observations to determine what types of activities you need to plan to help you observe the children performing other skills.  You don't have to plan all of your activities this way, but ideally as you get to know your children better you can begin planning more and more according to what the children need to learn.  For example, if you do an activity where the children are cutting and you learn that most of your children do not know how to cut, you may want to plan a few more activities next month that will help your children work on this skill.  Whereas, if you find out that everyone cuts very well, then next month you may want to plan other activities to work on other skills.