Concepts and Activities

Planning When planning curriculum for a week, teachers tend to have a few-word theme, such as summer fun or beach, and plan activities associated with that theme. Then they think of related learning that might be tied to the activities they've planned. I ask teachers to plan educational concepts (what they want the children to learn stated in words the children in that class can understand) first, and then plan associated activities. For example, a graduate student was to be observed teaching math (shapes) in kindergarten. For a hands-on experience using clay he said, "Our job today is to make shapes with the clay." The children enjoyed making many and varied shapes of their choice, naming them, squishing them up, and making new ones. Of course, the children were also free to use the clay as they wished. His words encouraged the children to try to make shapes before they went on to other things, and he and they were clear about the aim of the activity. When we name our goals before we start planning, planning is so much easier, and the children get more out of the experiences we offer to them. Thanks to Neil Aristy, art teacher at PS 5, Manhattan, in New York City, who has since graduated.
CONCEPTS AND ACTIVITIES Planning When planning curriculum for a week, teachers tend to have a few-word theme, such as summer fun or beach, and plan activities associated with that theme. Then they think of related learning that might be tied to the activities they've planned. I ask teachers to plan educational concepts (what they want the children to learn stated in words the children in that class can understand) first, and then plan assiociated activities. For example, a graduate student was to be observed teaching math (shapes) in kindergarten. For a hands-on experience using clay he said, "Our job today is to make shapes with the clay." The children enjoyed making many and varied shapes of their choice, naming them, squishing them up, and making new ones. Of course, the children were also free to use the clay as they wished. His words encouraged the children to try to make shapes before they went on to other things, and he and they were clear about the aim of the activity. When we name our goals before we start planning, planning is so much easier, and the children get more out of the experiences we offer to them. Thanks to Neil Aristy, art teacher at PS 5, Manhattan, in New York City, who has since graduated.

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