Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Creating a Unit Part Two: Planning Your Time

I know you're all on the edge of your seats--you've picked your topic and you're ready.

So you need to plan your time. First, you need to figure out how long you want to cover your topic. Anywhere from a week to two weeks is plenty for most things. I usually plan a week and then life gets in the way and things stretch out a little longer than that. Happens like that in the regular classroom too. If you're covering something huge, you know, like the bildungsroman in American literature, maybe plan for three weeks, but small children? A week is often good.

Now, you have to plan that week. At the very minimum, you want to introduce your child to the new information fifteen times throughout the week. For me, this means that we review his flashcards three times a day for five days. I won't go on and on about flashcards here--they work for us, but books, discussion, songs, vidoes, and playtime activities all convey information. Just be sure to get it in a LOT! We also do one activity a day and read one story related to our theme each day.

I also try to review things we've covered other weeks--either by bringing them into our activities or by reviewing previous note cards. A perfect example is fish--we started them during our unit on pond animals, but they also came up during ocean.

So that's it! Plan in place time-wise. Up next, choosing materials and activities (my favorite part--it's a lot like shopping).

Here is Charlie doing a sorting activity using toy cars. This week we're on transportation, but this activity also helps review colors. I got the idea from a sensory activity from No Time for Flashcards, but adapted it for my purposes. I have no idea why he looks so spacey--must be the illness. Just a head cold, by the way.