By Amy Simpson
We have now completed fourteen units for the standard one school year, which include; the theme, universal concepts, big idea, relations to the Q.E.P competencies, topics and teachable ideas. I think we all deserve a pat on the back because as a group we worked well and brought some great ideas together. We had separated into smaller groups so we could each work on different units and use our time efficiently. Although some at some points there were stand still moments where we would discuss and focus, for perhaps longer than we should have, on finding “the right word” to use in our writing, the rest ran smoothly.
I found the procedure that we followed to create the units, starting with a theme and then choosing one or two concepts and creating the big idea, helped us to focus in on what exactly we wanted the students to learn within the given time frame of the unit. Especially making so many, it helped to reinforce, at least one method of creating a strong and supported unit. This will be particularly useful in my own future classroom.
Thomas will be the grade one teacher for the new school. We worked alongside him as well as Cynthia, who is currently studying in university to become a teacher. They had lots of interesting insights to share on the local culture as well as what the students may or may not be interested in learning. They were also a big help in organizing the unit timeline. They provided us with information as to what was happening around the village each month, the weather for that time of year, holidays and any other special events. We were then able to place our units to a time that was contextually relevant to what would be occurring in the local area. For example, we placed the farming unit during the harvest season, the health unit during the rainy season (increase in mosquito population and disease) and the celebrations unit around Mother’s Day. There are twelve units throughout the school year but we also created two more in case some of the units are shorter than expected or if Thomas decides to make changes based on the students’ and his personal interests.
The nest step to follow in the curriculum project will be to create a number of lesson plans for each unit. This will give Thomas some ideas/examples of activities or lessons and how they can be carried out in the classroom. Overall it is an exciting process and I am quite anxious not only to see the end product but also, in time, to see how it all turns out in action next year.