“You gotta dance with the one that brung you.” This is an old saying, but it holds true for educators today. “YOU gotta dance with the one that fund you!” Common Core State Standards are setting the course for instruction. It is as it is! And although we can’t adjust the wind, we can adjust our sails. So, over the next few months I am going to attempt to take the standards and suggest engaging, fun, and meaningful activities that will develop these skills.
An overview of curriculum development will give us a background for starting this journey. There are four basic components of curriculum:
Clearly, classroom teachers don’t have a great deal of input with setting standards or choosing content. You do have a great deal of autonomy when it comes to learning activities. Are you going to just pass out a worksheet or are you going to let the children make a blank book about a concept? Are you going to sing a song or have them do a partner project?
I realize that many of you have scripted lessons that you must follow. However, according to research most teachers (at all grade levels) waste about 20-25% of the school day with transitions – stand up, sit down, clean up, change classes. That’s when you can slip in a song or group game. You’ve got to think outside the box and use the teacher’s curriculum guide as a springboard for your own creativity and personality.
Fasten your seatbelts because here we go!
Note! Although I’ll be focusing on kindergarten standards, the ideas and activities can easily be adapted for all primary grades. This month I will address Literature and Foundational Skills. September will focus on Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. October will highlight Mathematical Practices. If you want to know which states have adopted CCSS, click here: http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states
If you would like to have printable copies of the files for the various parts of this month's activities, just go to the Downloads page where you will find links to all of them in PDF format. We also included live links to all of the web sites mentioned in this month's activities.
We posted two videos on YouTube in May for your use with your students and children. Click here to watch Phonercise from Better Bodies and Brains. Click here to watch Macarena, Count to 100 from the Better Bodies and Brains DVD.
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