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Curriculum Post any curriculum ideas, activites or projects that wouldbe helpful to our Daycare community. What is your teaching philosophy?

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Old 08-24-2010, 10:08 PM
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Default Do You Have Random or Scheduled Themes?

I'm just curious for those who already do weekly themes, are they scheduled or randomly picked for the week?

I've seen one where they have each week planned for the year, even the summer months, so they knew what the topic of the week was ahead of time. This did not include anything as specific as letters and numbers and colors and shapes, but only included titles of themes. Ex. January weeks in order were: Snow, Forest Homes, My Body, We Can! (Unity) and Nursery Rhymes.

If you're willing to share your weekly themes, I would love to see what you're doing and whether they're scheduled or randomly picked. Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
I'm just curious for those who already do weekly themes, are they scheduled or randomly picked for the week?

I've seen one where they have each week planned for the year, even the summer months, so they knew what the topic of the week was ahead of time. This did not include anything as specific as letters and numbers and colors and shapes, but only included titles of themes. Ex. January weeks in order were: Snow, Forest Homes, My Body, We Can! (Unity) and Nursery Rhymes.

If you're willing to share your weekly themes, I would love to see what you're doing and whether they're scheduled or randomly picked. Thanks!
people who have themes planned out for the year and it's nothing specific - are probably people that have been doing the curriculum for a long time! when i did my student teaching, my mentor teacher had the supplies for all of the lessons organized and counted out - the papers that went along with the lesson was filed in a cabinet, etc. she'd done it year after year....

when i was creating a lesson from scratch, it would take me FOREVER to get all of the materials together. i'd have to go to the library, go to the store, make copies, cut things out, laminate, etc. of course, she had to do that at some point...ONCE...but then she had it, knew what to do, and could just grab it when the time came. therefore, she could just label a week as "snow" instead of listing specifics or lesson plans because she already had/knew them.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:42 AM
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i like to have my weekly themes set in place ahead of time, but i really like to follow the childrens lead in what they are interested in. so even if its the middle of winter, if they are into earthworms and butterflies at that moment, thats what i go with. that being said, this is a list of some of the themes i use in order...

september: wheels on the bus, chicka chicka boom boom, all about me & family, community helpers, apples

october: fire safety, farm, and then all things fall (my ABSOLUTE favorite time of year...lol), a little halloween, but not the scary stuff

november: more fall...lol like acorns and squirrels, leaves, scarescrows,etc., and thanksgiving

december: all things christmas: santa, reindeer, wreaths, that sort of thing.
we also focus on giving to others
(friends, neighbors, the needy,soldiers etc.)

january: snow,snowmen, snowflakes, and hot chocolate & cookies (yup- a whole week about 'em..lol)

february: bears, hearts, nursery rhymes, dinosuars

march: dr. suess(his bday is the 3rd, i think), a little st pats day & shamrocks, circus or zoo

april: all things spring (weather, rain, rainbows, caterpillars & butterflies, a little on easter, etc)

may: ladybugs and bees, flowers, gardens, baby animals, pond

june: transportation (planes trucks, trains, etc), summer, beach, ocean animals

july and august... with SA here, i just wing it...lol we are usually outside all day anyway. i do have what i call "interest" days. (water day, national watermelon day, national go fly a kite day, pajama day, etc) that i play off of.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:33 PM
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I've always done a pretty "standard" curriculum that I did myself, changing it up a little each year to keep it interesting. This year i got bored with that,so I decided to go with a lliterature based curriculum. I've outlined the books for the year, and have specific plans for only the first month so far-- lots of work yet to do! i'll probably have two years worth of plans by the time i'm finished though! Each week (or two) we will focus one book which will be a "springboard" for many of our planned activities for that period. We will expand and explore the ideas and themes in the books and use them in all the curriculum areas. so far the feedback i've gotten from parents has been very exciting. I can't wait to get started!

sept:More More More said the Baby, My Five Senses, Good Dog Carl
Oct: Nuts to You, Pumpkins, Pumpkins
Nov: Feast for 10, Thanks for Thanksgiving
Dec: 5 Little Monkeys, assorted Christmas books
and so on...
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:47 PM
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I base my curriculum on the interests of the children. There is no way I can have pre-planned themes. We take the child's interest, and build the curriculum around it. We do this by observing the children at play, noticing a "theme" they are interested in and then constructing curriculum based on that. If they are not interested in the topic, it's pointless to try to teach it.

There are some things that are pretty standard each year, and they revolve around the seasons and learning about themselves.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:11 PM
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Of course if the kids aren't interested in something we won't explore it any further, but I find that I need to introducde them to things that they otherwise wouldn't discover on their own. They usually get quite excited about anything new that is introduced to them. If I based what we did on the interests of the group I have now, all we would EVER do is superheroes
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I base my curriculum on the interests of the children. There is no way I can have pre-planned themes. We take the child's interest, and build the curriculum around it. We do this by observing the children at play, noticing a "theme" they are interested in and then constructing curriculum based on that. If they are not interested in the topic, it's pointless to try to teach it.

There are some things that are pretty standard each year, and they revolve around the seasons and learning about themselves.
the constructivist approach is so much better - i agree with that.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:21 AM
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i agree with you crystal, and would love to do that 100% of the time. however, i dont know if its this generation of kids, or just the bunch i have now, but they have no imagination, creativity, or ability tothink "outside" the box.

the mother-of-all-mothers of a toad laid about 5000 eggs right in the play area this spring. there are literally 1000;s of baby toads EVERYWHERE. that is ALL the kids have been interested in since then. I'm all for following there lead, but after 15 weeks of toads, catching toads, petting toads too hard, dropping toads, fighting over who gets to hold the toads, who has more toads, toads riding on the swings and getting flung down the slide, and finding toads buried in the sandbox, i think its time to nudge the kiddos juuuust a little on to a new topic.

p.s.- momma toad, if your reading this, please lay your eggs somewhere else this year. there are 10 acres of egg laying land behind the house....you can have it all...
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:06 AM
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lol! But, see, that's exactly what they should be learning about then...if they are REALLY interested in it, you can turn it into months of a small group study.

Of course, that's not the only focus there should be....but I could do this cuuriculum with the toads....

where do they come from
how do they grow (catch them in various stages of development, watch the development, add some charting for math, some drawing for art/emergent writing, some teacher dictation for storytelling)
what other kinds of toads are there
what's the difference between toads and frogs
add books about toads and frogs
what other colors of toads and frogs are there
what types of toads and frogs live in other parts of the world, and where are those other parts of the world
How can we take care of the toads in our yard, is there something we can do to protect them?
etc.

I would carry that out for months if they were still interested in it, and the whole tme, they would just think they were playing and having fun.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:34 AM
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okay Melskids, I've been cleaning and thinkning and I am SO jealous of you right now. It's been awhile since I have had a topic like the one you have right now.

Some more ideas I had while cleaning:

*Flannel board stories - you can make you own or just do fingerplays - 5 green and speckled frogs comes to mind
*Print and laminate or glue to construction paper or tagboard pictures of different toads/frogs for matching/sorting/memory game
*Play leapfrog
*Hop like toads/frogs - who can hop the farthest, highest, longest amount of time - graph it on chart paper
*make origami frogs and the children can make them hop by pushing down on the back - great small motor activity
* use paint in various shades of green and brown at the easel

Usually, topics like this lead the kids to discover new topics and things they are interested in, and then you can expand the topic into new areas and ideas.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:36 AM
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I'd like to add, that I don't mean to ONLY focus on toads....

the entire environment would still be set up with the usual materials for art, writing, math, science, dramatic play, blocks, manipulatives, language/literacy, there would just also be a study going on about the toads/frogs.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:49 AM
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crystal, thank you for the ideas!!! they are great!! i have already used alot of those ideas. i agree, that it should be about what the kids are interested
in, and i think i'm the one who's just bored with the same old topic...lol

i purchased the creative curriculum over the summer at a yard sale, and read all three of the books already, cover to cover. i really like their philosophy, and plan on implementing it in my program this fall. it sounds like this is the type of program you are using.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I'd like to add, that I don't mean to ONLY focus on toads....

the entire environment would still be set up with the usual materials for art, writing, math, science, dramatic play, blocks, manipulatives, language/literacy, there would just also be a study going on about the toads/frogs.
do you ever have more then one "study" at a time? so maybe we could stilll explore the toads, but maybe have something else going on at the same time? (For example,i have a couple boys REALLY in to tractors). or is that too much going on at once for them. like i said, I"M just bored of the toads...lol
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:53 AM
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I really like Crystal's approach and agree that you don't have to do toads the whole time. Mix it up a bit each week with something that else that is related to toads. For example, I really enjoy the bird theme because you can do so much with it for weeks at a time but it's never repetitive and you can be very specific or very general. I start off with introducing the bird theme and discussing what a bird is, what their characteristics are, types of birds there are etc. The 2nd day we discuss eggs and I get a few fertilized eggs from a friend that has chickens and put them in an incubator (one egg for each child). We write each child's name on the egg and draw a happy face on one side and a sleeping face on the other side. The older kids flip their own egg twice a day and I flip the others. We talk about the responsibility of caring for an egg and start to go learn about the embrio's growth. Each week we learn about what's going on in the egg but the main theme is something else like specific birds i.e. owls, ducks, chickens, big birds vs little birds, flight birds and birds that can't fly etc.

Maybe you can start by talking about how to care and be respectful of the toads, what they should do if they find a toad (i.e. put them in a specific part of the yard close to the fence or give them to you and you can later take them on a walk to relocate them), you can talk about the toads life cycle, what toads eat, what kind of environment they need to survive, how a toad is an amphibian and what that means, other amphibians, etc. You can have the kids tell you what they need to survive and get a terrarium and find those things. Have the kids arrange it and catch one or two toad's as daycare "mascots" for the time being and only those toads are allowed to be played with (under supervision). That way the other toads will be safer lol.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melskids View Post
do you ever have more then one "study" at a time? so maybe we could stilll explore the toads, but maybe have something else going on at the same time? (For example,i have a couple boys REALLY in to tractors). or is that too much going on at once for them. like i said, I"M just bored of the toads...lol
Absolutely you can, and should! Those boys that are really interested in tractors may not even care about the toad study. Small group studies only include the children who are interested, and those children then bring their information to the whole group. I'm excited for you!!!!
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post

Maybe you can start by talking about how to care and be respectful of the toads, what they should do if they find a toad (i.e. put them in a specific part of the yard close to the fence or give them to you and you can later take them on a walk to relocate them), you can talk about the toads life cycle, what toads eat, what kind of environment they need to survive, how a toad is an amphibian and what that means, other amphibians, etc. You can have the kids tell you what they need to survive and get a terrarium and find those things. Have the kids arrange it and catch one or two toad's as daycare "mascots" for the time being and only those toads are allowed to be played with (under supervision). That way the other toads will be safer lol.
YAY!! FANTASTIC ideas!
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:24 PM
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I want to see a picture of a bunch of toads! We don't get those kinds of opportunities in the city here! LOL

(You could probably write a children's book [Toad-aly Daycare] LOL)
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
I want to see a picture of a bunch of toads! We don't get those kinds of opportunities in the city here! LOL

(You could probably write a children's book [Toad-aly Daycare] LOL)
LOL!!! i should rename my daycare....

friday they had about 25 or so in a bucket....i'm sure they are gonna be at it again monday, i'll have to post a pic...lol

BTW, i didnt mean to hijack your thread
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:57 PM
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Melskids, ha ha, I got to reading and forgot it was even my thread! LOL

I know I can teach the kids what they're interested in, but if I don't have a scheduled routine for weekly themes they are missing out on what they don't even know. I think what I might do is create a weekly theme so we have something to do for crafts and songs and fingerplays and just other creative activities related to the theme. (Week 1-Week 52)--this way, some months have 4 or 5 weeks and they carry over from month to month so sending out letters with Week 1, Week 2, etc would be very organized and simple starting week one the first week of January to stay on a "business" schedule!

I don't believe having a scheduled curriculum is a bad thing and I need a better routine to feel like I have things under control and that I can play the "teacher" role. Besides, elementary schools even follow books, not "Johnny, what do you want to learn about this week" as the main means of teaching. LOL. So, I'm trying to prove to myself it's okay to have a set yearly schedule of activities to keep me sane! What does anyone else think of this?

Example: Week one might be SNOW, Week 35 might be Back To School, Week 43 might be Halloween, Week 47 might be Thanksgiving, Week 51 might be Christmas.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
Melskids, ha ha, I got to reading and forgot it was even my thread! LOL

I know I can teach the kids what they're interested in, but if I don't have a scheduled routine for weekly themes they are missing out on what they don't even know. I think what I might do is create a weekly theme so we have something to do for crafts and songs and fingerplays and just other creative activities related to the theme. (Week 1-Week 52)--this way, some months have 4 or 5 weeks and they carry over from month to month so sending out letters with Week 1, Week 2, etc would be very organized and simple starting week one the first week of January to stay on a "business" schedule!

I don't believe having a scheduled curriculum is a bad thing and I need a better routine to feel like I have things under control and that I can play the "teacher" role. Besides, elementary schools even follow books, not "Johnny, what do you want to learn about this week" as the main means of teaching. LOL. So, I'm trying to prove to myself it's okay to have a set yearly schedule of activities to keep me sane! What does anyone else think of this?

Example: Week one might be SNOW, Week 35 might be Back To School, Week 43 might be Halloween, Week 47 might be Thanksgiving, Week 51 might be Christmas.
I'm like Crystal in that I base activities off of their interests, but I'm also like you in that I like to have a plan ahead of time. So, this is my first year doing in-home (have worked in centers before) and I've organized some spreadsheets to get my ideas on paper. Each spreadsheet has the name of the 'theme' and then lists the elements of our day (circle, small group, outside, environmental enhancements for free play, etc) and I am working on filling each element with activities that go along with my theme. So now, when children are interested in, say, construction, I go to my construction spreadsheet and pull out the activity ideas that I want to use. I'm finding that I have more ideas than I have time to use (but that's because I only have MW kids and TTh kids). Also, if I'm feeling a little stuck on their interests for the week/month/etc then I can pull activities from another theme and introduce it to see if there is any interest.

Hope that helps...
Katy

Also, to clarify, I don't think it's awful for people to have set themes for the whole year, but I have definitely noticed that the children are sooo much more interested and willing to do the activities and extend on the activities if I choose themes based on their interests.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:32 PM
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I use Funshine Express, and so my themes are pre-planned- and they give me the entire years themes ahead of time- but they are not necessarily one week per theme- usually 3 themes in a month. I use it as a framework, but have the flexibility to move ahead if somethings not working, extend it if the kids show a lot of interest, and I occasionally insert a theme based on whats happening, seasonal, or the child's interests. In August we added a Fish/fishing theme because several of the kids had been fishing and sharing about it, and the other kids were interested, so we did several crafts, books, and pretend activities around oceans/fishing.
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