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Do you do formal lesson planning for K?


xixstar
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I'm don't know if I'm being smart and organized or wasting my time. I'm trying to write out lesson plans for our upcoming year and part of me wonders if it's a waste of time and the other part wonders if I'm ever going to stop being distracted and get it done.

 

Not really knowing how things will go makes it challenging because I start to panic that I'm spending the time planning/writing out details and what if dd flies through them all within 5 minutes or 5 days?

 

I was writing out the lessons in reading (using OPGTR, I would list Lesson 34 is Short-E, not copying down the entire lesson) to see where we can also incorporate more of the scholastic books we have or possibly use Starfall or Reading Bear lessons if she *wants* to do it. And then I started to think that was really redundant and pointless to type it up since it's mostly pretty easy to just open and go (though I know I will forget about outside resources if they're not written down somewhere).

 

So then looking at FIAR like activities and then getting them in order, printables or materials needed, when to request library books, finding fun extension ideas online.... But then I'm distracted again and again worried I'm making up more work than is needed.

 

I do well when I have a nice neat list all written out and ready to go. I'm big on the prep in advance and just run on auto pilot. But writing it all up is feeling just as overwhelming too. Am I making extra work? Do you plan things out too?

 

It is "just K" so in theory there isn't a whole lot, but then also my child does better when we have bigger plans for our week and just saying we're only doing reading/math and then playing doesn't fill that time the same as finding fun activities to keep us busy, which is what I really see things like BRIAR/FIAR being really good for. If I don't plan them out, though, they don't happen....

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I have not taught K, since I did not start homeschooling until 5th grade, but I have never lesson planned this way.

After all, when we finish section 3.2 in the math book, we know that section 3.3 is next.

I simply decide which materials to use and how much time I want each child to spend on school work. Then we just do the next thing.

 

The few times when I had made a schedule, we were off schedule by the second week of the school year - because a kid had decided that one topic was really, really interesting and that she wanted to do more work. And I'm not saying "no, you are not allowed to work ahead on your history, because that's not on the schedule". If they are excited about something, I want them to run with it.

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I don't plan it out like that. I have a general yearly plan of what we'll cover. Very rarely do I stick to this 100%, but since its a Word doc I can update it every few months. For example, I might plan for ds to do about 2 math pages a day, but then I find that he has blown through it so I make adjustments. Honestly though, I probably wouldn't even do this for K, but I just add it to my older ds's yearly spreadsheet. Anyway, then I make up a weekly checklist (I am a checklist kind of girl :001_smile: ). Again, this is a Word doc so I can update weekly and just print it off. At the top are the days we school and on the left side are all the subjects, with all the daily lessons filled in. I do write lesson numbers/page numbers for K, and if he moves ahead (or we change course) I just make a note of it and adjust the next week's list. If I really don't know how fast/slow or what he is actually doing for a particular subject, I would just leave that space blank and fill it in that day. This might sound overly complicated, but it's really not. It only takes me a few minutes to update and print out Sunday night (or Monday morning).

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I don't really plan at all for reading, math and writing because they are all just "do the next lesson." History and science take a bit more planning, but not much and I don't do it that far in advance. Basically, I have an outline of what I'd like us to cover when. Then, I plan those pretty loosely a week at a time. I say loosely because it depends on what library books we've gotten and whether we feel inspired to do extra projects or not. I could never plan very far in advance because too much would change.

 

BTW, even though I don't really plan these things out, we've ALWAYS finished everything even earlier than I had hoped. We are very, very consistent in doing every subject every day. If we struggled a lot with consistency, I would try to plan more to keep myself accountable.

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I teach K currently (all 3 of my kids are Kish level) and I don't plan with that much detail. I use a DIY planning sheet for our FIAR units, and otherwise, just plug in subjects on my weekly calendar (printable from donnayoung.org). We just do whatever is next in reading, math, handwriting, etc. I jot down if we're going to do any CM stuff like a picture study or a new composer in my "other" column. It's simple, it works for me. I usually jot down what we actually DID after the fact, though. So, if we do lesson 16 in a math, I'll write that down on my calendar with a note about how it went or something that needs to be reviewed or revisited, etc.

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I think I'm just going to work on just the FIAR like stuff and stop over thinking the rest. I guess because I really liked AAR, but not the price tag, I was trying to replicate the program. It makes sense that it was taking far too much mental power because I was really trying to build a similar curriculum with what I have on hand. Gonna look at how I can do that without taking so much effort.

 

Was also hoping to do some planning to help me with Miquon too because I'm still scratching my head about that one too.

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I did sort of plan out skills subjects (math, phonics, and handwriting), because baby #3 is due in August and I wanted to make sure we can take off the number of weeks I want to this year plus school only 4 days a week and have enough time to get through what I want to get through before first grade. If we move faster or slower, that's fine, but I know now by looking at "the list" that it's reasonable and not too much.

 

I also like to make up games and activities and without a list in front of me of what units/topics are coming up, I often get caught without the materials I need. Hauling three kids age 5 and under to Hobby Lobby for more colored card stock is just not going to happen this year.

 

Prehistory is our only content subject, and other than a reading and documentary list, it's not formally planned. I'll plan activities as I find them.

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With my K'ers, I just chose curriculum and "did the next thing". In fact, I used this approach with my 1st grader last year, too, and it worked well. I use the SL schedule for history (with some adjustments), but every other subject is "do the next thing". The only leftover that dd had from last year was some Spelling Workout, which she is finishing this summer.

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I never plan for my kids under 3rd grade. I have found it is impossible to gauge the pace of learning at that stage. Some concepts they leap through, some they slog through. You can't predict it ahead of time. I have found that by 3rd grade, though, I am fairly accurate at predicting the time my kids need for mastery of concepts.

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I'm on my 3rd kindergartner, and I don't really do any planning for K. I find that there is really no way to predict how quickly young children will grasp concepts and move through curriculum. I choose something for math, handwriting, and phonics (for my current kindergartner: Singapore Math, HWT, & Reading Reflex), and we just work through it at the child's pace. I have a ton of early readers at this point, but I find that even harder to predict. I don't know how other people use "reading schedules"! It's just hard to know whether your child will need more practice at a particular level or whether they will suddenly jump ahead in their fluency. I've found it's best to relax and follow my kids' lead (and I am definitely a type-A planner so going-with-the-flow is not my natural state). With my first kindergartner I would write down what we had completed at the end of each week, so I had a record of what we did. Now I make a spreadsheet each week to plan for my older children (4th & 3rd). I leave a blank on it where I can fill in what the kindergartner has done each day.

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I agree with everyone else. We are finishing up PreK and starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, and I think it would be impossible to plan like that for us. Sometimes we've spent over a week on a lesson in OPGTR and sometimes we go through a few lessons in a week. What I've done for "planning" is make sure that I am prepared to teach the next thing. So if there are items I need to gather or things to print out or create (I make readers for OPGTR to work out of instead of the book), I make sure that is done. Then, if we get stuck somewhere, I look to my other resources. So when my daughter got stuck doing "ng" endings for a little while, we did what was in OPGTR and then practiced on Reading Bear and then I just made up words and we practiced on the white board. But when my daughter understood that "e" at the end makes a vowel long, but this concept is encompasses several lessons in OPGTR, we just read through the lessons and move on. No extra practice needed.

 

Or in math, my daughter needed some extra practice with more/less (still does, actually). So we did the pages in Essential Math and we did the pages of it in Miquon, and then I've had to create my own practice for that too. But when she understood her shapes right off, we just did the page and moved on to the next.

 

It would be seriously impossible to predict where my daughter will get stuck and where she'll zoom through. So I just make sure I have resources ready, and we do the next thing until we get stuck. Or if we get sick of that one resource, and then we go to our alternative or even pause for a little while to solidify.

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I'll be the odd man out. I do. I plan K lessons. I plan lessons for every subject for the entire year. I have to if I want school to flow as easily as possible. But I purposely plan my lessons so that if we need to spend more time on a topic, then it's easy to halt and marinate for a while, then move on to the next thing in the plan. Subject planners, plugged into a daily planner are your best friend. :thumbup:

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We are finishing up our K year here, my second time through. I wish I could plan more precisely but with reading especially it is just too unpredictable, our lessons have ranged from 2 a day to one over 2 weeks. I can see planning out content subjects though if you are doing them. We are just doing the next thing in reading and math as we are able. I think it more important to make sure you are dedicated to consistent work and watching your child to see how they are doing, parking on subjects or zooming ahead as needed.

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The first time round I planned things in advance and had a nifty weekly schedule. It helped in the beginning to become familiar with the materials and how long things were taking. Then planning did become a waste of time for us and now we follow more of a rough outline and "do the next thing".

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I DO! I feel like we got so much more accomplished with a plan, and I need the organization and to be able to see the overall picture. I don't try to make daily or weekly "schedules" exactly, but I do split our plans into 36 units. And we don't necessarily finish each subject in a unit, before moving to the next (like we might have been in unit 12 for reading, but 14 for math) I'm ok with that, but at least with my master list I know where we are in comparison to what I'd like to get done in the year and if we have extra time I know what we should focus on, or the bare minimum we should do if we're short on time.

 

I've never used FIAR, but for our content subjects I put everything in a binder, separate the units with tabs, write any supplemental books or activities on a sticky note on the backside of each tab (I'm fancy like that!) And then go back and add in any fun supplemental stuff I have behind the appropriate tabs. It works well for me! I'm sure some people could keep the same sort of running schedule in their heads or just consult their texts when needed, but with a baby and a toddler, and a husband who travels for work I don't get nearly enough sleep for my mind to work that well, lol.

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I cannot plan a whole year ahead with my DD as I have no idea where she will be or what she might have problems with or fly through. I do try to have a basic week or even daily plans that I quickly jot down the day before just to make sure we cover things and I have an idea in my head of where we should be at the end of the year at a minimum, but I never do long term planning.

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I plan what we'll do in a year, but not daily lists. Especially for K. So much of K is going to get done within an hour or so.

 

So K this past year my plans were to just do the next lesson in what we were doing. OPGTR is already laid out for you, so it would be extra work IMO to make a list of OPGTR lessons. Starfall isn't planned. We just do something like that online when the fancy strikes us. Things like HWOT I allowed my ds to do as he wanted to. Same with ETC. We would pull out the book and he may do 2-4 pages each day depending on his mood. I wouldn't plan how many to expect because I don't feel it is helpful to push a Kinder past their limit. If 2 pages was all he had in him that morning, I was good with that. Also my kinder would sometimes randomly ask to do ETC or his SM Essential math. Even if we had already done it that morning. I don't know how you could plan for a Kinder like that. It's more self-paced.

 

I do however think it's a good idea to plan for yourself. My plans were for me, not my Kinder. I had to sit down with PWB and our ScienceWorks and have everything ready and planned for when we would do an activity, check out books at the library etc. so I could be ready to do science or the PWB with him that afternoon.

 

You can't get too invested in your K plans however because Kinders are young. You may have some elaborate FIAR (or anything else really) plan for that week, and it is just a flop because your Kinder is not interested in it. You have to have some flexibility. I find that over planning just makes me grumpy when it doesn't work. Give yourself an out and a backup plan.

 

I also like to think in terms of routine rather than daily schedules. I know that I want lang arts and math covered daily, and content subjects covered weekly. If I planned so many pages of this or that at this time on a Monday, I would drive myself crazy.

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I don't plan on scheduling it out. I plan on doing it the same as we do now which is pretty much just "do the next thing". We're horribly inconsistent, doing no school for a week, then a week's worth in a day, then all science for two days, then we'll fly through a math unit... If I had a plan laid out, we would be completely off track by day 2 and that would make me feel behind or as though we were doing it wrong. When really I don't think there's anything wrong with how we do it, definitely not at this age. I keep an eye on things and try to bring us around if we're neglecting something I think is important.

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Initially I was going to try to (plan it out formally), but then I realized that my Ker didn't care about my plans :)

I would have to go back over and change my formal plans every day, since some days he enjoys doing more than I had planned in phonics or math; sometimes he needs more repetition in phonics, sometimes he surprises me and already knows something and it feels like a waste of time to go over it again formally.

So now, we're going to go with "do the next thing" this fall. We're using Miquon, FIAR, Phonics Pathways, CHC's phonics, and some religion materials - it will not be difficult at all to simply move on to the next thing each day.

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We did mfw k so it was planned out for us, although some units I stretched out and added stuff. I liked that it was flexible. Since it only took 1 1/2 hours to complete with I could add things if I felt like it but when I didn't have the time or will all my bases were covered. I did pencil into the grid schedule daily Spanish, "preschool time" and additional math sheets, but this only tacked on another 30 minutes. I liked having the extra time to do crafts or bake together or go to the park.

 

 

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I sort of do and sort of don't. I have a template I made in Pages that lists the days of the week across the top and the blocks of time down the side. Then I list what subjects I'd like to do during each block of time in the actual squares of the table. I don't put page numbers or lesson numbers in. I print the template off then fill it out by pencil at the beginning of the week according to how I think we're going to work this week. If it doesn't work out I can make changes easily. At the end of the week, I file the weekly plan so I have some kind of record of what we accomplished. I have two (young) school aged children and there was room for both their stuff on it.

 

I worked really well for us! It was flexible enough to account for real life's interruptions, kept me on task and organized (I had one extra column for things like goals, supplies and library books for the week). I'm also a real pencil and paper kind of girl but by starting with a template that I could edit on-screen, it made everything flow really well for us.

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I don't make plans like that for open and go subjects. In the OPGTR case, I'd pencil in the name of the reader with the lesson you think it matches best. When it's time for lessons I'd just pick it up and do what's next.

 

For subjects that aren't so simple in the higher grades, I do make lesson plans individually. By that I mean, I make a separate plan for each subject, for each kid that needs it. I don't map out all the subjects together on one sheet.

 

 

My rising kindergartner doesn't have subjects that need planned. We'll just open the math and phonics books and do what's next. Her writing will be made up as we go along.

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Guest Jenny_K

I'm a planner and so I plan out our lessons. It works out the best for me and like you said, if I don't plan it out, we usually won't end up doing it. If doing something detailed feels overwhelming, you might try just making a loose plan, just to bring a little order and structure to your day. Or you might try just planning a couple of weeks at a time. I do about 4-6 weeks at a time, because as you mentioned, my little guy sometimes goes slower or faster than I thought he would. Good luck!

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Nope.

Math (Right Start) and reading (Phonics Pathways,Bob books, real books) and penmanship are open and go, just do the next thing.

DS does history (SOTW) and science (RSO) with DD and I do plan those using Donna Young subject planners.

 

I do review the week ahead on Thursday or Friday to make sure I have necessary supplies and I reserve library books two weeks out.

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I'll be the odd man out. I do. I plan K lessons. I plan lessons for every subject for the entire year. I have to if I want school to flow as easily as possible. But I purposely plan my lessons so that if we need to spend more time on a topic, then it's easy to halt and marinate for a while, then move on to the next thing in the plan. Subject planners, plugged into a daily planner are your best friend. :thumbup:

 

 

This is kind of me too. TRL and Saxon are open and go, but our geography, history and science are mostly made up by me, so I need to know what comes next and have things prepared accordingly. I hate to be in the position Monday morning where I'm scrambling to figure out what we going to do. As far as scheduling times, I don't. Sometimes we get in a history mode and do it for 2 weeks straight and then move on to something else. Other times, we'll plod through each subject every day. I try to make my plans open enough that if the interest isn't really there that we can move through material that I deem "need to know" and let the rest go, but if the kids really want to delve into it, I've got a few starter ideas sketched out and have materials prepared (library books, art supplies, etc.).

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For K, we only had 4 things going: Phonics Pathways, Pentime handwriting, Singapore math, and Sonlight P4/5. The Sonlight was already scheduled out. The other things were all "do the next thing". So I kept a sticky tab in each book, so we'd know where we were. Then I had scheduled a time each day to do each subject. So we'd spend 10 minutes on Phonics Pathways, getting done however much we could in that timeframe. I could never predict how far we would get. It depended on kid's mood, how much was on the page, and how the stars were aligned. :tongue_smilie: I didn't bother to match up books with his phonics lessons. We just picked up books, and he read the words he could, and I helped him with words we hadn't gotten to yet. Not a big deal.

 

We're about to start 1st grade tomorrow, and we'll basically continue the same pattern. The only thing I'm "planning" is matching up some books at his level to tag-along with his big brother's US history (1st grader isn't doing Sonlight this year). I'll be adding FLL1 and WWE1 to the list of subjects also, but they're already broken out into lessons. And if he finds FLL1 easy like his big brother did, I know how to do multiple lessons in a day if necessary. ;)

 

Things get done here because I do have a list of subjects to check off. We must do reading lesson and math and handwriting each day. They're on "the list". That list just doesn't say anything about which lesson in those books we're doing. So there is no planning involved, but they are getting done regularly. I couldn't function without a daily checklist - we'd easily skip subjects.

 

I do use HST+ to keep track of what we've done, and it has "lesson plans" in it with no dates attached, but I really didn't use it for the K'er last year.

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I am with you on "If I don't plan them out, though, they don't happen..."

I am working with PreK this year and I will let you know how my planning is going:

1. I see planning as something I am playing with to see how much I need and practice for when I have more I want to accomplish. For PreK my plan is that if my son does not want to "do school" then he should go play.

2. I am planning for six weeks at a time (the maximum time I can have a book from our library ;-)). I lay out the books we will read (one each week that I choose), the supplies needed for the crafts, and the supplies needed for some science exploration.

3. I also have a weekly plan that is more general like do math (counting) on these days.

4. I have monthly ideas lists for bigger stuff, like I plan on going to the zoo in October when it is cooler.

This way I have structure planned, but if I do not tick off each item, then I will reuse the supplies/ideas for the next six week term.

 

Best luck finding what works for you!

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I'm a planner. I like to know how long it will take to finish something and when I need to pull out special materials I have stashed away or request library books. So I've written down page numbers for each week in math (we do the front and back of a page each day), phonics, lesson numbers in science (with BFSU you don't just do the book front to back) and books I want to use with them, geographic regions (not using a book for that), etc.

 

I started that with Pre-K in an Excel document with just a row for each week and what I wanted to get done in each subject. It's working for us.

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I usually wouldn't try and plan for K. I did throw together a 10day-ish type of unit study on Pirates last summer.. with crafts, activities, books lists, and something cool to focus on each day (ex. pirate clothing, pirate ships, the cardinal directions, map making, etc.) I planned it so that when ds was born (RIGHT before the start of the year) I would still be able to do something fun with her, that was already planned out and took virtually NO effort. Then we just added the basics like phonics primer, etc.

 

I will admit, it was SUPER AWESOME to have a really thorough couple weeks of lessons that I felt were really well put together, and packed with fun stuff for her! She loved every minute and couldn't wait to "do pirates." :)

 

I will also admit, that was by far the best/most informative thing we did for all of last year. However, OPGTR and Saxon K were the only curric I used, so I was throwing together my own stuff for everything else. If you were to do that, then I would highly suggest planning ahead of time. But if you are going to use curriculum, then just go through the lessons at the pace of your dc.

 

K should be fun for you both :)

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Against my better judgment, I have planned out a full 36 weeks for the year for history, science, and grammar. I am using a Sonlight binder with the 36 numbered tabs, and already have everything filed away. It's only a little bit in each subject each day, so should be totally do-able (and easy to catch up if we get a little behind).

 

Math and spelling will be self-paced. Not sure about readers - he is reading well enough he can probably read the supplementary history & science books I have. The literature stuff is not really planned - I mean, I have various things we can use (FIAR, Teaching with Favorite ____ Books, Literature Pockets, Core Knowledge read alouds .... but I don't have them scheduled and plan on staying flexible.

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We're doing a K4 year, so obviously it will be child-paced. All my stuff is open and go, so I will not make a detailed plan to stick to. Though, the mathy person in me will probably make some sort of estimate just to seem more schooly. :)

 

I do plan on having a routine schedule, though.

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I like planning things out. I usually just do a rough outline of what I want to accomplish for the week and what subjects/lessons for which day. It helps me keep organized and make sure we accomplish everything needed. It is just a rough outline, so if one lesson takes longer that's fine. If one lesson goes faster than expected, I use supplement work for exa practice instead of going through a whole book that should take 180 days in 60 days. I like to take our time and make sure things are actually soaking in.

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I'm a planner by nature, so I'm actively having to resist planning. DD is quite young and this is only a pre-K year for us, so it's easier to convince myself to relax. But I'm also not really "wanting" to plan K either as I would like to make sure that I don't get into a mode of box-checking with a young child. Not saying that's what everyone does when they lesson plan, it's just what I know I would fall into.

 

My current system is to have a regular small day planner. If there are particular projects I want to do that week, I write them on a post-it and stick it in the day planner. As we finish things, I write them down on the day we finish them. So yesterday was blank when the day started, but at the end of the day we had done a page of a Critical Thinking Company workbook, practiced cutting and tracing, did a Reading Eggs lesson, learned about even/odd using colored tiles, and read abound roly polies and ants.

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I'm a planner by nature, so I'm actively having to resist planning. DD is quite young and this is only a pre-K year for us, so it's easier to convince myself to relax. But I'm also not really "wanting" to plan K either as I would like to make sure that I don't get into a mode of box-checking with a young child. Not saying that's what everyone does when they lesson plan, it's just what I know I would fall into.

 

My current system is to have a regular small day planner. If there are particular projects I want to do that week, I write them on a post-it and stick it in the day planner. As we finish things, I write them down on the day we finish them. So yesterday was blank when the day started, but at the end of the day we had done a page of a Critical Thinking Company workbook, practiced cutting and tracing, did a Reading Eggs lesson, learned about even/odd using colored tiles, and read abound roly polies and ants.

This is what I've just started doing with DS4. Most of our materials are open and go, but sometimes there is a review game I'd like to do. So I write a short lesson plan on a sticky note and put it in that book.

 

Then I record what we did on an Excel spreadsheet. I'm really glad I thought of using Excel since it doesn't cost anything and I seem to get excited about paper notebooks/planners (even for myself) but then never use them... :)

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