Lesson Planning 2011 Part 1: The Overview
So… it’s that time again… planning for next year! I’ve been working on this for weeks now and I think I am finally ready to start getting it all on paper. I’m breaking this post into parts; this is likely to be quite long and I want to cover each section separately. I’m starting with the overview.
Our calendar for this year will run from January 3 through December 9. We have 40 weeks of school, M-F, in four-week sections with a week’s break between each. That will give us 200 school days. Of course, we’ll have scheduled holidays off (birthdays – no one should have to go to school or work on their birthday) and major (and bank) holidays, so we’ll even out at around 190 or so, which is about average.
I’ve looked at a couple of new things lately, both method and resources. We’ll actually be buying some curricula and other things for this upcoming year, which will be fun. Over and over this past year, I’ve come across pages from Enchanted Learning, so a subscription to their site for this year is on my wish list.
Something I’ve been considering for this year is a better ‘spine’ to keep us grounded a bit better. I know some aren’t concerned with keeping up with the grade level that they’d be at in school, but I am – not so much that we overlook what they’re interested in, but enough so that we have a guide and path from A to Z for the year’s arc. To that end, I consulted a couple of different resources. I ordered the “What Yours X Grader Needs to Know‘ from the Core knowledge series for 2nd and 3rd grade and will probably get the 4th grade book towards the summer. I don’t know how much we’ll use them or need them, but it will be nice to have.
I also looked through the Moving Beyond the Page site, which is a literature-based study program. Using their book lists and outlines, we’ll work on some of the stuff they suggest. Obviously, without paying for the full curriculum, we won’t be doing quite the same things, but I love the literature aspect of this site and if the boys like it then we may consider using their full paid curriculum for Year 3. I’m also still consulting The Well Trained Mind on occasion, though we’ve deviated from their path more than a little at this point. I do like referring to it when I feel like we’re getting too far off track though. We’ve gotten away from CM style in recent months, so I think a shift back towards literature as a base will be beneficial for us.
As for a basic overview, I was considering getting a big workbook; one of the ‘everything for 3rd grade’ kind, and I still may. I spent some time looking through a couple, and I really liked Harcourt’s Complete Curriculum series. I don’t know that we ‘need’ it, but one thing we will be working on this year is ‘working independently’. A friend recommended the workbox system, and I’m considering modifying it to a folder system so the boys can work on certain days or for certain subjects (or reviews) on their own. We’re going to be using the STARS planner for them to help encourage good work/study habits as well. I think the workboxes will fit nicely into that system.
In a slight change from last year, 2011’s school year is broken into five 10-week sections, called ‘mods’ (short for module), and which include 2 ‘off’ weeks. Each mod is one grading period. To some degree, each 4 week section has a theme that we work in; 4 weeks=4 seasons is a natural rhythm, so the first week is discovery (beginnings, spring), the second week is growth (summer), the third week is mastery (harvest, fall) and the fourth week is review and preview for the next section (winter). I like Moving Beyond the Page’s ‘concepts’ but their 3 week set up doesn’t fit our calendar, so I took that idea and tinkered with it to fit.
I have the first mod pretty much planned, and themes set for the year. I’ll be working on the rest, and a couple more posts (one with ‘core‘ and one with ‘extras’) to go up soon. If you’re starting in January, how’s your year’s planning coming along?