Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daily Report:Changes in Work Plans or How I Love Work Plans

Luckily the emergency room ran Ken's test again and contacted her doctor to let her know that Ken has Strep Throat. It is a blessing that Ken doesn't feel sick!! Unfortunately she has exposed this highly contagious infection to other children:( Looks like Ken will be schooling for the next two days upstairs, it is a great thing that we went to the library last week their book selections were awesome!!

One of the perks of being on a journey to having a prepared environment is the Work Plan which starts in elementary in a Montessori setting. Ken and DJ have been using Work Plans for a long time, this week they decided to organize the cultural works by specific days of the week. They just use the list to remind them of their focus activities on the shelves and then they write them in their planner. I can't tell you how much this system has helped me! I no longer have to fill in lesson plans for the day, if I wanted to I could just use their planner to plug in the information. At the end of the year I have documentation on every activity that was done, which I could use to quickly check what state standard they have met. Observation is always the best thing and I am working very diligently to record those observations that I am making.

                                                                     DJ's  Work Plan
Ken's Work Plan

The Work Plans are always a work in progress and today they showed me that they could use a bit of improvement. I really like the simplicity of this oneMontessori for Everyone offers free ones and also a template which is what I used in making the ones shown above.  It may look traditional, but it is definitely tailored  to their interest and personal goals so they love them!   

One of the works that DJ has on his work plan is Division booklets that are free from Liveable Learning. I have broken them down into individual booklets so the task doesn't seem too huge.

                           
  He loved this activity! Today he used one of the charts that comes with the Division Memorization boards to check his work. DJ has about five booklets to accomplish but he breezes through them not because they are easy to him, but because he thinks they are fun to do.         

 Ken mastering the Racks and Tubes because DJ asked her for some help and she needed to refresh to help him.             

Another thing that I truly appreciate about having a Work Plan for them is that they understand what is expected from them in their freedom of choices.

For example when Ken chose to do a biography report on Monday, this required her to research a person of interest and write a brief description of their life and one thing that inspired them. Since she choose to read a book about Helen Keller this is a ongoing language work that is written in the daily planner until the report is finished. She may not push this aside and start the next day with an entirely different language work. The Work Plans along with the Daily Planner allow them to have something that they must follow through on. 

DJ stays far away from anything that says a report, but he loves to research something. Today he chose to do Chinese Brush Painting as his language work.
                                
Here are some examples of the cards he uses when he does this work.  

                            
They have declared Tuesday "Geography Day" Ken worked on learning the African Flags and DJ worked on learning the names of the countries in Northern Africa.


I hope you aren't tired of me talking about Work Plans yet!! Well they help my kids to get closer to an authentic Montessori environment. Often times they have to asked me if they can have a lesson on something, prompted by a work on the Work Plan( which I purposely do to get those needed presentations done) DJ needed to know for certain exactly what countries are in Northern Africa. I was able to show him some work that I put together to help identify the countries.

                         
 A simple folder which includes the outline of the countries of Northern Africa and information about each one.  I will add more regions when they are ready to learn the names, Ken knows quite a few already.                                                                
He decided to use the work this way.

What I  hope even though they separated the works by days as I have on the Work Plan is that they see a connection between all subjects and not treat one just as a check off list.  As you can see that they have added check marks to the works that they have done. This isn't my aim at all in using the Work Plans. 

This post turned out to be longer than I expected and I hope I haven't bored you:)    
Montessori Monday


                                                      

16 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you posted about this! I will be posting about work plans later this week also and one of the reasons I decided to do so is that there is so little out there on the blogosphere about them. We started a new style last week and I'm pretty sure I don't like it. I think we are going to try Jessica's style next. I'll be sure to link to this post in mine.

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    1. I am looking forward to reading your post! We need more help here!!

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    2. OOh! Share the one that doesn't work too - because it might work for someone else ;)

      We've been through several styles for varying situations; I need to get some draft-posts into final form ;) But yes, there IS so little available to see, so the more ideas we share, the better :)

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  2. What??? Where do you get all of this stuff from? Are your home school expenses high compared? I look at your school and I would LOVE to incorporate most of it if not convert to that style completely but it looks like it may be out of my range. I hope this isn't an inappropriate comment, just am very interested in how you school.

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  3. I have purchased most of their homeschooling materials over a two year period of time. A lot of their work is shared with the preschoolers too in some way or another which cuts the cost down drastically.

    However at times it has been a bit of expensive hobby, because I just love what I do. You could budget and have a lot of the recommended materials or make them if your crafty to lower the
    cost. I still always maintain our school budget to be less than it would cost for one of my children to attend a traditional Montessori School in our area. I bet I would save a lot more if I stayed out of the teacher store:)

    Steph, it is totally O.k to ask me anything about Homeschooling:) If I don't have the answer I will help you find one, in most cases it will probably be something I pondered as well. Financing homeschooling is a hot topic, especially when your dealing with a "Montessori Addict". LOL.

    I have brought my materials from Montessori Swap, KidAdvance, and Alison's Montessori. I would never recommend IFIT Montessori but that is for another post.

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  4. The Africa unit looks fabulous. I like the work plans too :)

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    1. Mary there is many components to the Montessori Environment that work well in a traditional set up. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  5. I'm LOVING this post! Just today I realized that our environment has been feeling less and less like a Montessori environment and more of an I decide what we are going to do but we use the Montessori Materials environment. I need to figure out how to change the momentum, but be sure that everything still gets covered.

    Questions-how many works do you require they choose? What happens if they never ever choose a work? and How do you incorporate review products into the work plan?

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    1. Right now I require one cultural work, one language work, and one math work a day during the work period. They usually spend a hour on each work which gives them an uninterrupted three hour work period.

      One of the reasons I started using the Work Plan was to help my children learn to start their work cycle. In the first month in the beginning of our homeschool journey this was a problem, now they choose effortlessly.

      I try my best to only get review items that would compliment a Montessori environment. If it doesn't we do it at the beginning of the day or at the end of the school day. Our Latin/ Greek flashcards are a good example of a work that I was able to add to their Work Plan, and now I just give a challenge root word for the day. Janessa's can be a challenge, so I just usually replace the review item with what were working on and use the Montessori Materials as well, heads up Janessa doesn't have a Work Plan because she is five however if I was to do it all over again I would have incorporated it much early for her since we are missing some components that a Montessori school would be able to offer her. Now we just have an agreement that she will do math and reading daily which she loves because I am literally sitting right next to her, this isn't how I want it. This girl can be very independent but due to so many missed days her rhythm is just not there yet.

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  6. Your africa unit looks great! If you could provide the links for it that would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Thank you! I have kinda put a lot of the things together myself, or the kids make their work as they go. We are loving the Book The Egypt Game which is I guess the inspiration behind some of the works you may have read about. If you give me a specific work you like I would be able to give you a link to it. I hope this helps!

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  7. The information in the folder about Countries of Africa is what I was looking for. You have shown 2 pages of the folder - what else is in the folder.Thanks.

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    1. Here's the link to the book:)
      http://www.teachercreated.com/products/africa-2nd-edition-2109

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  8. I always love seeing the wonderful work your kids are doing, and it was great to read about your use of work plans! I pinned your post to my Montessori Elementary Activities and Ideas Board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/montessori-elementary-activities-and-ideas/

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  9. Just read through the comments and I this is somewhat "off topic" of this post, but was curious why you would not recommend IFIT? We ordered half of our current materials from Allison's and half from IFIT and had a good experience with both. I am about to order several more materials and was curious before I order if there is something I should know.

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    1. Both times I ordered from IFIT I received damage materials, it was just too much of a hassle. Every time they wanted me to take pictures and then email them. I was already upset with the damaged materials and was not in the mood to take any pictures. The first time I get it, the second time I am just done.

      It is great that your experience with IFIT has been great. I just wouldn't recommend them.

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