Sunday, October 18, 2009

UU Sunday - balancing the lesson plans

7 Principles Rainbow

I noticed something as I moved from classroom to classroom today, checking in and working with three different age levels at once. I noticed that we have fallen into a pattern in all of our classes, despite using very different curriculum in each.

In our pre-K class we are using a Montessori-based method called Spirit Play, in our 1st-3rd grade class I wrote my own lesson plans for "Dr. Seuss and Our 7 Principles", and in the 4th-6th grade class we are doing Toolbox of Faith from the UUA. All different, but they are all sharing a balance of activities in common:

1. Welcome and small liturgical element (lighting the chalice)
2. Joys and Sorrows, a chance for the kids to share and receive support from each other and the teacher
3. A Story
4. Discussion
5. Activity - game, art, etc.
6. Clean up
7. Closure of the class circle
8. Snack

The ages are all at different stages, but they all are following this outline right now, and it seems to work very well for us. Today I could walk from a room where there were little 3 year olds painting and doing yoga into a classroom where 1st-3rd graders were trying to do jigsaw puzzles with blindfolds on with a partner telling them where to put the pieces, into a classroom where 4th-6th graders were making duct tape lunch sacks. Earlier in the classes I would have walked from a story of a lazy bear into a reading of "Horton Hears a Who" into a story called "Answer Mountain".

It's very moving, to see them all in action, and to just feel the happy hum of energy in the classrooms.

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