Getting ready for a new month is always fun. It is especially fun when September rolls around because that is when our foundational curriculum starts their new year. This is year four with Experience Early Learning Curriculum and we couldn't be happier with it. They have curriculum for babies and toddlers but we use their preschool curriculum. We have found that is works perfectly for all ages in our school. We can simplify an activity for a younger student or we can make it more challenging for an older one.
Every month we get a new calendar. There are little pieces with the numbers on them that we add to the calendar each day. I decided I wanted the children to be able to see all of the numbers and match the one needed, for the younger students. I love the fact that Spanish words are added throughout the curriculum. We will be adding even more on our own as the year progresses.
Last year, Experience Curriculum gave us this wonderful weather board set and we are going to continue to use it. The kids love to choose what sticks to put each day. Sometimes they use more than one. Sometimes they change it out if it stops or starts raining. Under it we put our monthly poster. This month its all about feelings! The kids get to tell us how they are feeling each day.
As you can see, our I Can Read book, magnets, monthly book and puzzle all go along with the feelings theme. I love how we get new ones each month. We may put away our other material each month so we can put up a new theme but we always keep these resources available for the children to use over and over any time off the year. The monthly puzzle is the perfect size for a three year old to learn with. We have 37 of them! We keep our magnets in ziplock bags and use them on small trays when we need something quiet to do in between activities.
If you have seen our school library, you know we have a huge amount of books for all subject and levels. Experience Curriculum gives us two books a month to add to our library. We always put it on this special book rack and add the other books that go with our different daily topics. We have our two Spanish words books, our Sign Language book, books about friends and about the different feelings we are talking about. We try to read two or three books throughout the day.
We hung our Sign Language ABC chart above our book rack and put the word cards that came in September's box around it. As we go through the school year, we will add new word into our daily routine in a natural way. Just like explaining any word we teach the children to speak, we will add how to sign it. So fun!
I hope you will check back in September to see the fun things we are doing.
A new school year always brings such excitement for me. One thing I love most about being a teacher is getting to find and provide the very best curriculum and resources for my students. I made some upgrades this year. One of them was to create a new parent handbook. I wanted to put everything a parent needed all in one place. It has dates for each semester, closed dates, parties, PNO dates, field trips, birthdays, student list, a calendar to write in all the dates needed for school and personal to each family. It has our daily schedule, monthly themes, our book order information, some fundraising information and a copy of our policies and procedures. These will ONLY be handed out to currently enrolled parents. Each school year, parents will get an updated copy of this booklet. I've gotten great responses from our parents about it.
I got a new teacher planner for this year and if I like it as much as I think I will, I will be getting a new one every year. Not Consumed is such an amazing company. She has provided a Planning Boot Camp to help use the planner to it's full potential and to help you get your thought and goals straight. I am so excited to get started, since our full blown school schedule doesn't start until September. We are taking it a bit at a time to introduce one or two new things each day.
I loved the idea of the Student Planner from Not Consumed but I wanted a way to add or subtract pages to make it fit our students. I chose the digital copy. I love the fact that I get a free update every year! I created a student planner for our kindergarten and first grade students. It helps teach them responsibility for getting their work done and teaches them accountability. This will be the only place for lesson planning for each student. My planner will not contain those elements. Since I printed and bound ours, I added some other pages for the students, including a birthday list, and I put the weekly plan pages in between each month's calendar. This is a work in progress but it is something we are all excited about. Every school year the children will gain more and more independence with that student planner and their work.
We have been happily using Experience Early Learning Curriculum for years! We start year four in September. I started partnering with them during our second year by sharing MORE about our wonderful materials in exchange for curriculum.
Last year I found this wonderful 2-tier metal rolling file cart to sort my curriculum in a way that I could use it with ease. This cart is on wheels so I can drag it from room to room, and I have many times. I have several different color folders. I have a few for the basic things like teacher books, circle time props and extras. There are 20 folders that are numbered 1-20. I have four different colors, one color per week. I just open my box and start sorting. I take a look at each and every element so I get a small glimpse of each day. I will separate the readers, journals, books, puzzle and magnets, along with the bulky supplies. The extra supplies go in the small basket on the bottom. The readers and journals go in a basket next to the lamp. I have extra files below to hold holiday themes and extras.
Since we became a full private school with Kindergarten and Early Elementary, I have expounded on our learning resources. Last year we found The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum. They have been doing updates on certain books but they also did a completely new MATH program that was released just in time for this school year.
We use their Language Arts for all ages. They are updating their preschool LA and that will be ready at the end of August. They are updating the LA Primer early next year so our 4 year old class will be able to do the updated version starting in August of 2022. We always have our students complete the Primer before starting the level K so they are grounded. The Kinder students this year are doing the old version before going on to the level K. It is advanced curriculum so they aren't behind. We are just building a strong foundation for them to build upon.
We are adding their Science to our line up this year. We just got our first two Science units. We will start with Energy, followed by Water and Our World! There are so many topics that we will do over the course of the years and will repeat some as the children enter higher grades. There are some off these courses that are being redone so we are trying to wait until some of them have been updated before choosing them.
Their Handwriting curriculum is something we do for all ages. The 3 and 4 year old's have books that they just learn how to draw lines and loops so that keeps it fun. I purchased a comb binder to make all of these great planners and workbooks. It was a great investment. I like the coil better but that is much most costly and this suited my purposes.
I wasn't sure how I was going to store all of these workbooks during times they weren't being used. BUT then I remembered I had these cloth baskets under the reading bench in the library. It is perfect! I have one more basket that I am probably going to get them to put their science journals and planners in.
Each afternoon the children gather in the den for rest time. We read out of a chapter book. We started the school year off with Misty of Chincoteague. We have already watched some videos of the actual island that the horses live on and the "pony penning day". After we finish this book, we will watch the movie, Misty. We will continue reading the books in this series before going on to another series. We have several picked out for the school year. Books are a HUGE part of our school.
We acquired a beautiful, large table this past year. It has been perfect for our older students to work at. It leaves our smaller table for the younger kids and gives the big kids lot of room to work. After we did our handwriting books, the kids got small chalk boards and colored chalk to work with.
We will be adding things into our schedule a little at a time over the next few weeks. This will give the kids time to adjust to doing school in a workbook but also sitting and concentrating for longer periods of time.
We got out the clay one day and they just enjoyed cutting it and mixing the colors. It is simple things like this that break up the day and give them something different to do while also working their fine motor skills and getting their focus on creating. At this age, they very rarely actually end up with something to keep other than a ball of clay. And that is okay!
Our Math Boxes finally got here. Check out the video because it tells about the math program but also shows the math boxes. The kids had such a ball doing math with them. The brand new math is advanced so we are going through at least some, if not all of the Level K Math with our first graders, too. We don't want them to miss any of the concepts in it. It is a spiral math concept. Watch the video to find out more about it. If it is too easy on some pages, we will skip them. As long as they are having fun and learning we will not worry about the letter or number on the cover.
We had several of our students out this week. So our class was small. We are hoping our other students will be back soon. We do still have several spots for new students, if you know of someone who needs a private school with a homeschool approach.
You can always follow us on IG and FB for daily updates on our activities. Have a great weekend!
This week we told the stories of Paul Bunyan. We talked about how silly the stories became as they went along. I told the kids how you could tell when a story was made up because things just sounded off. This story is part of the Folktales & Fables for August.
We are provided with four amazing teacher's guides each month, plus five lessons and supplies to go with each of those books, for a total of 20 lessons each month. I've done a post about how I organize my supplies each month but I will be posting an updated version next month.
We also get a cute I Can Read book for each student with words and pictures to create sentences from the book. The kids love those. We always keep one with our site word pointers in a basket so the children can read them over and over any time off the year.
Each day this week there was a "chapter" of his story with stories pieces that the kids could look at and hold while I told the story. Visuals are so important to children and visual learners, like myself. Experience Early Learning Curriculum gives us so much quality each month that we always have more than enough to keep our preschoolers and early elementary students engaged.
One off the table top activities was the strip puzzles. There were four of them. We decided for the first graders we would put them all in a pile and time them to see how fast they could put all four together without them being sorted first. I love that with our curriculum I can find ways to adjust the difficulty and challenge to fit a wide range of children's ages and abilities.
I hope you have enjoyed a small look into our class and core curriculum. This is the foundation for ALL of our classes. We use the themes and crafts for all of our students. We change things up to fit each age and grade, from 3 to 1st grade.
Next month is our Friends & Feelings month. We started back to school this week but we ease into our new school year during August so that we don't make the kids feel pressured since our summer camps are less formal. We add in core subjects for Kinder and above. This year we have a first grade class. Each year we will add on an additional grade.