Monday, June 24, 2013

In The Planning Stages

Last summer, I spent hours upon hours piddling around on Pinterest, pulling ideas from all over the place for activities and learning tools for the school library. The problem for me was finding time to make all of those ideas into actual worksheets or activity bins for the kids.

That takes a lot of time and effort:  translating a random idea into a practical, hands on item for kids at varying age and ability levels doesn't just happen automatically.

The good news is that there are a lot of ideas floating around on blogs, pinterest and elsewhere that are really helpful springboards to coming up with great ideas for the kids that I teach.  But how to organize those ideas into real, working, teachable units is a work in progress for me.

My goal is to just work through them, bit by bit, over the next few weeks, and see where I end up by the time the start of school arrives. 

One of the things I am hoping to revamp this summer is my lesson plans.  What I learned when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring is that I am not nearly prepared enough for someone else to take over library teaching duties, and that my lesson plans need to be clearer and more organized for that reason alone.

But I also stumbled across something incredibly useful:  by putting plans and worksheets/printables together in a week by week format for the library, all together in individual pocket sleeves in a binder, my life became infinitely simpler.  

Being able to simply pull out a sleeve, pick a page or two for photocopying, and also having seasonal coloring pages ready to go, was incredibly helpful when I was having to deal with so many doctor's appointments and and no real time for day to day planning.  Having all of that ready to go before the year even starts would give me a lot more time to fine tune planning on a week to week basis, which would be wonderful.

So my goal this summer is this:  by the start of school, to have a binder for each grade level that I am teaching, with a week by week lesson plan and sleeve of activity sheets and/or read aloud follow-up questions -- all ready to go and interchangeable, depending on our week to week needs and schedule.

However, this takes a lot of time to assemble and is an incredible amount of work for me.  What may end up happening is that I work on lesson plans for the start of school, having already completed the lion's share of the last few weeks of school, and then I fill in the middle as a week to week process as we move through the year.  Either way, though, I end up with a notebook of lesson plan ideas for each grade level that can be used, tweaked and fine tuned every year thereafter.

If I can do that, along with putting together some of the ideas for individual hands-on activity teaching that I've been mulling over from Pinterest pulls and blog idea bookmarked pages?  I will be well on my way.

It is a lot to ask from someone trying to ride her way through chemo, I suppose.  But the distraction from thinking about chemo is a welcome change, and I am going to dive in for that reason alone.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be re-organizing my Pinterest boards to streamline things a bit.  Having a single board for library ideas is too much of an insane mishmash, so I'm going to split things out into separate categories to make it easier to distinguish the various component parts:  classroom management, reading promotion, display and bulletin board ideas, etc. 

If I am to accomplish any of this, it is going to be a very busy summer.  So I'm going to have to pace myself and be happy just getting any of this done to any extent as the chemo brain allows me to do the work...or not.  We'll just see where things end up before the school year begins, and I'll have to be happy with wherever that ends up being.

In the meantime, I'll immerse myself in something creative and at least get to feel like I am accomplishing something this summer.  Which is a very good thing for me at the moment.

(YouTube -- the Mamas and the Papas singing "Monday, Monday.")

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