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Beating the Winter Blues

All term we have struggled to be enthused in our learning endeavours; perhaps it is the change in Season, perhaps it is simply time for a change. Our weekly expectations sheets were taking on a feeling of confinement. Whilst the tick boxes are rather beneficial in clarity of direction they had developed an unwanted factor. The children were working to complete ‘tick boxes’ and were doing the bare minimum. Their motivation for working was stifling and disappointing.

Giving it some reflection we have come to a few conclusions. We, the children as well as PC and I, feel convicted as to the benefits of daily application in spelling, dictation/editing and of course maths. We see these as essential but are questioning all else; what is purposeful and what constitutes busy work. Our desire is for the children to engage in meaningful work.

In an effort to break the tick box mentality and to encourage the children to engage more fully in their work we sought new approaches. I redesigned the ‘expectations sheets’; the subject content is essentially what we had before minus the tick boxes, but they are laid out differently with different subject headings, the children have to fill in the blanks themselves. PC calls it a Marketing Ploy;)

Child- Term 2-Week 8-2009

Monday
Faith

Maths

Writing (Mechanics)

Writing (Fun)

Reading

Reading (By Mum)

Creative Arts

The following two sheets are also on the wall to help with clarity.
I don’t think we have managed to stick to time yet but that’s fine.

The 5Rs.
*Each Session is 40-45 minutes.

Session 1
8.30- Faith

Session 2
9.10- Maths

Session 3
9.50- Writing Mechanics

10.30- Morning Tea

Session 4
11.00- Writing Fun

Session 5
11.45– Reading
* Assigned Reading List

12.30- Lunch

1.30- Reading
*Read aloud

2.15 Creative Arts

300-Free Play

The children choose what approach to take, freedom within guidelines.

The 5Rs Ideas and Suggestions

Faith
St Stories, Bible, Virtues, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd/ Covenant Theology, Catechism, Church History, Plays, Skits, Bible Memorisation, Apologetics, Bible Game, St Card Game.

Maths
Workbook, Picture Books, Fun sheets, Times Tables, Manipulatives, Gnomes and Gnumbers, Board Games, Computer Games

Writing Mechanics
Spelling – Must do daily

Choose at least two of the following:
Copywork, Dictation, Lively Languages/Grammar, Editing, Board Games, Computer Games

Writing Fun
You must pick at least one per day:
Blog, poem, creative story, essays, oral presentations, poetry recitation.
*Some notebooking or narrations per week on reading topics is expected.

Reading
Picture books, chapter books, poetry, reference books, read alouds, audio books. And:
• You must read one title per week from each of the following subject areas.
• 1- Science (For olders this is textbook, youngers experiement and document it)
• 2- History
• 3- Literature
• 4- Faith
• 5- Geography

Same content really, different wrapping;)

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3 Comments

  • Marilyn

    Some good ideas Erin. Funny to think of you working whilst we are lazing around on summer break.

    I have tried to email you – but they keep bouncing back.

    m

  • Sarah

    I like the way you are implementing freedom within limits. I'm still playing around with how to approach the 3 R's in a project-based environment. I'll be eager to hear how this is working for you. 🙂

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