We do not use a curriculum written by someone else in my classroom. We use the curriculum we write ourselves, designed around the kids in the classroom that year. We write based on their individual needs. We discover these needs through observations and assessments.
We take into consideration the interests of the children in the room, their current skills level and how we can use that interest to help them gain new skills.
Try New Things
Repeating is BORING. Don’t do that to yourself. Doing the same crafts and the same themes year after year means you lose interest, things get boring for you, and when you are bored the kids feel that and they don’t enjoy themselves either. Siblings should NOT be bringing home the same crafts two years apart! Yes, some crafts are super cute, and you want to do them again, but wait a few years and make sure there are no siblings and students who will be repeating the same craft.
Change up the Themes
Don’t do the same themes year after year. Try new topics, who says you can’t do a Hawaiian luau theme in the middle of January, the kids will love talking about warm beaches, pineapple, and learning to hula dance while it snows outside! Everyone loves to pretend to escape, even you as the teacher! Don’t bore yourself and the kids, when you are learning and having fun they are learning and having fun.
How can you scaffold learning, if you are not planning for the children in the classroom?
It is incredibly important to scaffold a child’s learning, to scaffold is to build upon their previous knowledge. How can you use the same plans year after year, talking about the same topics, repeating the same crafts, and still provide your students with specific skills they need to work on? We know in my room when we have kids struggling to cut, we need to create more time and activities for them to cut. So, a collage craft where they have to cut our picture from a magazine and glue them to a paper is a great way to get more practice in. Scissors are always accessible in our classroom for a free play option, (but I use this as and example to make my point)
How to lesson plan after observations and assessments
Lesson planning comes easiest once you know your students. You can create broad scope lesson plans for the year, meaning you can have your topic or theme, but be flexible. Be ready to change and activity or add one in based on the needs of the students. This type of planning is really centered around what they need from you. It is your job to provide pieces of the world for them to explore safely in your classroom. Observation and assessment should already be a regular thing in your classroom. To plan for them you must KNOW them. Then you have to take all of that information and use it to make sure the activities you plan in your classroom will help to challenge them, and gain new skills.
This year we are turning many of our favorite classroom books into themes. We try and switch our overall topics and themes year after year. I keep a list of the themes we have tried on our teaching peaches website, if you click each month on the homepage for that month you can see the themes we have tried.
I hope you consider writing you own curriculum. It’s seems like a daunting task at first. But you just have to be organized. Get your self a good lesson plan outline and get started. You CAN do it!
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