It’s the start of the second week of the mid year holidays here in Western Australia and my thoughts are turning again to what the plan is for next week when school goes back. With the summer Olympics coming up its the perfect opportunity to learn about different cultures and the coming together of people.
I thought I’d share with you how I go about planning for a new topic. I spend some preliminary time talking to the children or thinking about what is going on around them and then decide on a learning focus, generally in consultation with my EA. I’m also thinking about what skills my class may be lacking from previous testing. I know that I need to work on number, grammar and vocabulary. I am mindful that I need to incorporate these skills into the learning focus as well. It’s important to choose a learning focus that is broad enough to accommodate all of this.
The next step is looking for literature that I can use. I check the school library and my own collection for anything relevant. Then I start browsing on the book depository. I make sure I am thinking at least 2-3 weeks ahead as I know it takes between 10-12 days to receive books from the book depository.
This is the selection I have purchased and am eagerly awaiting. The only downside to buying online is not being able to flick through the book. There is often a brief description about the book though and you can get a feel for what it is about. Sometimes you can find the book on YouTube and see it being read which is useful. Other times I buy a book purely on a recommendation from another early childhood blog.
Then I search around for props for the home corner, to decorate the class with or to use as a playscape. I found some small British flags on eBay for $1.99AU for 10 (free postage) so I bought a couple of lots of them. I found some cheap maps from London so I purchased them too.
While I’m looking I am jotting down notes/brainstorming where I want this focus to go. I’d like to do some cooking, perhaps bangers and mash. I’d like to find pictures of different landmarks and buildings to study. I’d like to print them out and put them around the block corner along with the clipboards and pencils and see what comes from that. This website is a good starting point for finding images that have a creative commons licence and can therefore be used for non-commercial purposes and even commercial purposes in some cases: http://search.creativecommons.org/. This article is also useful for finding images using Google that have a reuse licence: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/find-creative-commons-content-google/.
And if that is all a bit too mind boggling, especially for those in holiday mode, then perhaps you’d just like to check out my Olympics board on Pinterest. There are a lot of great ideas there including some free e-books. One of my favourites is from I Can Teach My Child. You can find it HERE.
Let me know if you see anything else exciting as I’d love to see it.
***UPDATE*** Here’s a PDF of some London landmarks for you to download. I am planning on putting them up on the wall in the block corner. Download it here: London Landmarks