Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Planning in FDK: An Ongoing Reflection

With this year coming to a close, it's hard to believe that it'll mark my fourth year teaching Full Day Kindergarten! As much as the ending of a school year is busy, I often find myself setting time aside to reflect on the year under the lens of what worked really well in our program, what are some things I want to rethink for next year and what are elements of our program that I'd like to completely remove. This 3R's framework is one that is often used in the York Region District School Board and I find it to be a perfect anchor for reflective dialogue and conversation as an educator team. 

As part of my final assignment for my York University Kindergarten AQ course, I chose to reflect on my own kindergarten journey from the perspective of how I plan and program. Each new year brings a wave of excitement, possibilities and new challenges and I have to say how wonderful it was to see for myself just how far my practice has evolved and changed as I've grown as a teacher and life-long learner. 

Here is a brief breakdown explaining how my planning has changed in response to my own needs as a professional, our collective needs as a teaching team, and allowing for that flexibility that is crucial for an effective and engaging Full Day Kindergarten program:


 

To compliment these reflections, I found it so interesting looking back at what my "planning" actually looked like as a tool for making visible what my program was all about. Here are samples of what my plans looked like throughout the past 4 years. My hope is that by making them visible for you, my followers, you can see that there is no one "right way" to plan and program for FDK, but rather you need to honour the process and reflection that goes into preparing, modifying, rethinking and planning a successful program for yourself, your teaching parter and most importantly, your students. Every year my "plans" look different since I'm constantly learning new ways of sharing my learning and planning purposefully for my students. 

YEAR 1:

YEAR 2:


YEAR 3:

YEAR 4:



The following Inquiry Planning Outline was originally developed by my wonderful friend Joanne Babalis. Upon our reflections as a teaching team, Heidi and I and my new partner Ashley, have modified parts of it to suite our needs as a teaching team. 


Below are some key learning moments that I've come to understand more deeply and truly appreciate when planning and programming for my students. The following points are ones that I feel one should always keep at the forefront when planning and programming and I hope this blog post gives you lots to think about as we head into the summer:



6 comments:

  1. What makes you such a powerful educator is your constant reflection on practice and your drive to always learn and know more. Thank you for making your learning so visible.
    Heather Jelley

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    1. Thanks so much Heather! It's because of inspiring educators like yourself that have always encouraged me to want to learn and do more! Your constant support is so appreciated my friend.
      Jocelyn

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  2. I was wondering if you could email me a copy of your year 4 plans. I am new to FDK next year and I am interested to see what your specific breakdown is of activities.
    Thanks,
    Michele van der Veen

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    1. Hi there Michele,
      Thanks for your inquiry. I'm going to have to kindly decline just because I truly want to encourage others to go through the process with their teaching partner. Designing, reflecting, and modifying that type of template is such a valuable process to go through as a teaching team. Coming up with that template took a lot of time, dialogue, reflection and collaboration and I wouldn't feel right just giving it away. With a simple chart on excel you can easily make visible a break-down of your flow of the day. Hope you can respect that.
      Sincerely,
      Jocelyn

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  3. Thank you for posting your reflection! I am rethinking my writing time and I want to integrate it more into our learning center times. Do you ever do whole group writing lessons, or do you find it better to do small group lessons?

    Paula

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    1. Hi there Paula,

      Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read my blog! To answer your question, over the past few years I've contemplated and reflected upon that very thought and based on my experiences, I feel like I can target the needs of my students more specifically during small group lessons then large group. I use large group time (e.g. sharing/celebration circles, etc) to either reinforce concepts taught by using students' work samples as anchors for discussion and/or review/co-create criteria that speaks to the big ideas of whatever writing concept we are exploring (it's usually no more than 10-12 min in length).

      Hope that helps and so happy to hear that you're being a reflective practitioner yourself! :)

      Sincerely,
      Jocelyn

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