I have been inspired, which is great because school starts here in three weeks. I am beginning to define the direction of my classroom. Is it odd that I want to define a direction three weeks out, before I even have had an opportunity to observe the children in the space to come up with a direction that is in line with their interests?
No. My planning has to do with me. I have specific things that I want the children in my class to learn this year. They need to learn to recognize the letters of the alphabet and how to write them. They need to sharpen their counting and numeral recognition skills. But these are academic skills that every three-year-old begins to learn. There are other areas of knowledge that my students need to learn. And I ask myself these questions in order to prepare:
- How am I going to teach my children social skills this year? How am I going to help them interact with each other productively?
- What sort of discipline methods am I going to put into place?
- How am I going to go about creating invitations to play this year – something that I have always wanted to incorporate, but haven’t had the time to plan or coordinate? And how am I going to plan and coordinate this?
- What about science activities? How can we incorporate cool science activities that will help these children understand cause and effect and learn more about their world?
- How can we incorporate music exploration? How can we make music in the classroom more hands-on and more interactive than simply using rhythm sticks or tambourines, or dancing to music that has already been made?
As you can tell from the links, I have more than enough inspiration to work with. I want the children in my class to have a fun, exciting year that will pique their curiosity and inspire them to create on their own. I think we all want that. But the art of teaching (and it really is an art) is to reflect on what we have done in the past and figure out ways to make it better in the future. Even though I have not had a chance to observe the children as a group in the learning environment that we will call home for the next year, I can still plan ways to encourage productivity for our entire classroom experience. So while I continuously encourage planning through observation – and use that skill myself – I also acknowledge that it never hurts to reflect on the classroom as a whole and make changes accordingly.