End of August is always a conflicting time for me...I love the start of fall--cooler weather, the smell in the air of things changing, my birthday, my son's birthday, last days at the beach....but also back to school...August is just never long enough!
Here I am though, preparing for the beginning of another adventure in teaching and learning. I've been tossing around ideas all summer, especially with the use of my weaving grant which I am very excited about!
So the arc for the year is: Time, Traditions, and Changes: who am I? where do I come from? how do living things change over time? We'll begin with "seasons". Of course most of our first session focuses on who we are as a learning group, what can each individual contribute to the whole group, and how we can work together to solve problems and create products this year. So the first few weeks will focus on establishing routines, and I am definitely going to buff up my calendar/weather routine so we can cover curricular aspects & vocabulary while also developing responsibility & awareness of time in terms of seasons & weather.
How do the seasons illustrate change? In what ways can we measure time?
Each table will be labeled with a different force of nature: thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, nor'easters (picture & sentence strip). This will establish relevant vocabulary & a sense of belonging to the members of each table, and it's more fun than just "the blue table" or "table #1", etc.
I'd like to inject a "precipitation chart" to the daily weather routine. Just a chart to tally days w/precip and days with--also including what kind of precip. This also targets a vocab word & puts math skills to work (counting & tallying). maybe I'll post a wipe board up for kids to draw a picture of the weather & someway of identifying the season we are in, that can also lead to creating a list of seasonal words, which we can use during writer's workshop, writing projects,etc.
I also want to post the words: imagine, create, wonder, investigate. As explorers of the world, these are the things we are going to do this year and what I want to measure progress in--use of imagination, products created, questions asked & explored, and where their personal motivation leads us as a learning group.
meanwhile, I have to deal with the nitty-gritty of setting up my room, the contents of which are as we speak completely piled on top of my rug--floor to ceiling--everything from chairs and tables to books and boxes of sea shells. which reminds me, I also want to set up a regular nature center based on the seasons. here we go!