My Lesson Planning Style {Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten}

Hello friends!  Everyone has their own style when it comes to lesson planning and I like to be prepared before the school year starts, so my lesson planning style begins with long term planning! After my first year teaching kindergarten, I decided that it was time to lay out a plan for the following year.  Our district was big on creating your own curriculum and thus didn't have many "set" programs in place that followed a specific scope and sequence.  This was a blessing and a curse. As a new teacher it was difficult to constantly try to pull things together coherently, but at the same time the freedom to teach what and how I wanted was amazing! Here is a picture of the "Curriculum Calendar" I created for the month of September.
Now let me break it down for you in case you want to do something similar for yourself. Here is a better look at the first page:
Start with the dates
Some weeks are shorter so I like to have that listed at the top when I am planning out numbers of lessons, read alouds, etc I want to fit within that week.  This saves me from flipping through all of my other calendars as I plan.

Unit of Inquiry/Themes

Our district was moving towards an inquiry based approach to teaching in the content areas which I loved, but still had to put my kindergarten spin on it.  I always taught thematically.  I enjoyed it, the kids enjoyed it, so I tried to find a way to make that work with the inquiry model.  Here are the themes I used.

Read Aloud

I always end the day with a read aloud.  As students pack up their bags and get ready to go, I begin reading.  This helps quiet students down so my room doesn't turn into a zoo.  It also gives me something purposeful to do for the last few minutes while students are being picked up for buses, or after school programs. I try to pick a chapter book that relates to the season or themes we are learning about. I choose frog and toad at the beginning of the year so that students get used to the routine with shorter chapters that often have a few pictures to share.  Later in the year I read Charlotte's web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.

I use a new poem each week to practice letter, sight words, concepts of print, and more.  On Mondays we read the poem together, students illustrate it and add it to a binder. Then we do a different activity with the poem each day.  Sometimes it is the same for all students sometimes I differentiate the task for students' needs.  Here are the poems that I use:

Daily 5/CAFE
I introduce one component of the daily 5 each week starting with week 2 of kindergarten. I list them for myself so I know what to plan for and focus on.

Our district had a partnership with Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis so we used their Comprehension Toolkits, which were FABULOUS for focusing on specific comprehension skills. The lessons referenced are from that toolkit.  Underneath the lesson is a second concept that I would focus on throughout the week. This concept came from the CAFE menus by the 2 sisters. I tried as much as possible to have the 2 comprehension skills closely related so that they worked together in my teaching.

During my Daily Five rotations I have time for 3 mini lessons daily so I rotate the focus of each of these mini lessons between comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary. I made this schedule for myself so that I'd know what type of lesson I was fitting in where.
The topics you see on the curriculum calendar come from the CAFE menu again, our list of letters (from No More Letter of the Week), sight words (district list), or our kindergarten word family list.

On to page 2...
Writing Workshop
We use the Units of Study from Lucy Calkins for teaching writing so these are pretty straight forward.  We try to teach 2-3 lessons a week because several lessons take more than one day and/or require reteaching.

Class Books
I LOVE making class books with my students.  They are great for fluency and repeated readings and the kids are always motivated to do their best.  I usually squeeze in 1-2 a week when they relate to read alouds/shared readings.

Math Unit/Focus
Again we moved away from a packaged curriculum and focused on writing our own units of study.  So while we of course spiral review throughout the year, especially during calendar time, we choose at the kindergarten level to focus on one topic at a time. In September we start with Counting and Cardinality (Number Sense).  As  grade level we choose the concepts from the common core that we would address each week and created lessons from there.

Math Vocabulary/Graph/Journals
I use a workshop model for math in my classroom and it runs exactly as my daily five rotations do with 3 mini lessons within each daily math block. I rotate the focus of each of these mini lessons between vocabulary, graphing, and journaling.  These are the graphs and journals I use in my classroom.
Math Stations
I use Debbie Diller's Math Workstation model for my math centers. Each week I introduce 5 new stations.  I do not get rid of the stations from the previous week however, so I usually have 10-15 stations students can choose from each day.  Students make their own station choices so they meet with me in a group fro one rotation and choose 2 other centers to work on for the other rotations.  The centers I use are available here.
Last, I list anything important such as field trips or testing on the bottom as a reminder to myself. Keep in mind that these plans were a work in progress over 5 years, and they got several huge updates every year.  The nice thing is that I have them printed out for myself and make notes on them throughout the year so that I can make changes to pacing and things that did/didn't work! Hopefully this was helpful, if you are tackling year long plans, good luck!

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