Plan, Plan, Plan
Hello! I'm Jennifer and I'll be blogging alongside Karissa and John. I teach three-year-old pre-kindergarten in Washington, DC, and I'm excited to share my perspectives and experiences with you this year!
Our first day of school is less than two weeks away, which means that I've spent these last few days of summer fully immersed in the process of PLANNING. Good teachers, like good leaders, always begin with the end in mind. Planning for my students is an ongoing process that begins over the summer and continues throughout the year. First, I review my curriculum standards and identify the most important skills and concepts that my students need to learn by the end of the year. From there, I develop concrete goals for what I want my students to achieve in regards to these standards, and then I "backwards plan" my year to ensure that my students meet their goals. Some of my goals for my students this year include:
- Describing feelings and their causes
- Solving problems independently and with a peer
- Identifying, extending, and creating patterns
- Counting to 20
- Orally blending two syllables to make a word (e.g. “mom” plus “ee” makes “mommy”)
- Recognizing familiar words (e.g. classmates' names) in print
These are ambitious goals for three-year-olds, but I am confident in my students’ ability to achieve – and potentially surpass – each goal. My long term plan, a calendar that outlines when I am going to introduce (and review!) each curriculum standard, ensures that I introduce foundational skills and knowledge at the beginning of the year and then provide opportunities for my students to extend and develop those skills and knowledge as the year progresses. My ongoing observations of my students help me reflect on their progress and adjust my instruction to meet their individual needs. This constant process of planning ensures that each of my students is able to learn at his or her own pace, while always working toward our ultimate goals.
Unlike many states, Washington, DC offers pre-kindergarten to three year olds, and I can’t help but think about how lucky my students are to have this tremendous opportunity. I know that by June, when my students achieve their goals, they will be prepared with the social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills that they need to succeed in four-year-old pre-k, and I can only imagine the impact that their experiences in pre-k will have on their futures.