The purpose of this assignment is for you to gain experience in developing and implementing age-appropriate, theme-based curriculum. After you plan the curriculum and lead the children for one full week, you will evaluate your plans and reflect on your experiences in leading the children with a themed curriculum that you designed. You should consult with your director often, including before, during, and after you plan and deliver your themed curriculum. As with all of our assignments in this class, please consider using your work here in your own professional career portfolio.
Selecting a Theme
The first step you should take in planning a themed week is to consult the director of your program about the following:
- Which week might work best in the center’s calendar
- Appropriate and inappropriate theme ideas
- Appropriate times and ways to schedule meetings to discuss ideas for your theme and your plans with staff members and families
- Existing lesson plan forms for you to use as templates
- Existing materials to use for bulletin boards, activities, and learning centers
Also, brainstorm and create a list of possible themes. Consider the following class-specific matters when creating your list of themes:
- Current local events
- Curriculum goals in certain subject areas
- Emerging interests of children (important)
- Resources available to the program
- Themes already covered
It is important to share ideas with everyone else who is involved in child care and education at the center, including parents. Schedule formal and informal times to discuss your emerging plans. When meeting with the director, staff, and children’s family members, discuss your theme ideas and open up the discussion for other suggestions. This will help you select a theme and gather ideas.
Drafting the Curriculum
After you select a theme, begin the process of planning lessons and activities. Brainstorm. Research. Talk to children and parents. Talk to staff at the center. Think about how specific activities facilitate learning outcomes. Collect ideas and materials over a period of several weeks, and draft your plans as you collect. You should use the lesson plan forms that the center usually uses to plan the curriculum on paper. If the center does not use a specific set of forms, you should draw on knowledge from previous courses to develop your own forms. As you draft your plans, remember to include activities and procedures that are part of the children’s usual day and schedule as well.
Finalizing the Plan
At least one week before your themed week begins, prepare full lesson plans and share them with the center director for feedback and approval. Next, prepare the classroom before the themed week begins. For example, design a bulletin board that incorporates the theme. Check and double check your materials, schedules, and lesson plans. Save or photograph everything that you prepare.
Implementing the Themed Curriculum
After weeks of discussing your ideas, collecting materials, and preparing your plans, your week to lead the children with a theme-based curriculum has finally arrived. As you implement the themed curriculum, have fun and remain flexible. Make sure to continually collaborate with the director, teachers, parents, and children as the week unfolds.
Recording the Curriculum in Action
You need to make plans to video record your implementation of the curriculum in action. Throughout the week, you need to capture at least five short segments that demonstrate your classroom leadership and reflect your themed curriculum in digital files. Each of these five short segments need not exceed ten minutes of footage. Make sure to record and submit segments that reflect different activities and demonstrate your range in the classroom.
If it is difficult for you to gain signed consent for video footage of children in the center for educational purposes, you need to arrange to record video in which only you are featured on the recording, or you need to edit the videos to protect children for whom you do not have informed consent.
Along with your classroom video footage, you also need to take a lot of notes that document the processes, successes, and challenges that arise along the way. These notes will also help you to complete the final part of this assignment, a written self-evaluation report.
Reporting the Themed Week Plan
After you have completed your implementation of the themed curriculum, prepare digital files of the video records to submit to your instructor. The most accessible video files are .avi, .mov, .mpg, .mp4 and .wmv. Please ensure that your instructor can open and view the video file type that you send.
With your video files, you also need to submit your lesson plans, photographs, planning and reflective notes and a 250-500 word report on the process of developing and implementing theme-based curriculum. Your report should answer the following questions:
- What is your overall evaluation of the curriculum that you developed?
- What parts of the curriculum do you think were most successful, and why?
- What parts of the curriculum do you wish were different, and why?
- What did you learn from the experience of developing and implementing theme-based curriculum for one week in the center?
To successfully complete the Themed Week Plan assignment:
- Plan a themed week curriculum for children at the center.
- Write detailed lesson plans.
- Implement the themed curriculum.
- Video record your work in the classroom with the curriculum. You need at least five short videos that reflect different activities.
- Write a 250-500 word report on your experience.
- Submit your video files with lesson plans, notes and a 250-500 word report. Please submit all required files in one folder.
- What places and/or people can help the children to learn more about the theme?
- What kinds of field trips or speakers are realistic and logistically practical, considering schedules, cost, and age-appropriateness?
- How might parents, teachers, the director, and the children feel about possible options?
- Contact an individual or organization about the visit.
- Schedule at a time and on a day that makes sense in the children’s schedule and that the center director has approved ahead of time.
- Conference with the teachers and director about the plan, and make note of their advice and concerns.
- Contact the parents to inform them of the upcoming field trip or guest speaker. You may do this in a newsletter, with a sign, on the phone, via email, or face-to-face during pick up and drop off time. All parents need to know and approve of the plan, formally or informally. All parents should be invited to participate.
- If you are planning a field trip that is off campus and not in walking distance of the center, consider if you will need to plan for transportation, permission forms, travel snacks, extra money, warm clothing, and parent volunteers to help you and the teachers on the trip.
- Prepare the children for the trip. Tell them where the class is going or who the class is going to meet and why. Help them to connect the trip or guest speaker to the daily curriculum.
- What is your overall evaluation of the experience?
- What parts of the experience do you think were most successful, and why?
- What parts of the experience do you wish were different, and why?
- What did you learn from the experience of planning and executing a field trip or welcoming a guest speaker to the early childhood environment?
- Plan for the trip or guest speaker.
- Engage in the experience with the help of teachers and parents.
- Talk with children about the experience. Next, help them to create a “thank you” gift.
- Report on your experience.
- Submit your 250-500 word report with video files or other artifacts that demonstrate the experience that you planned and executed. Please submit all files for this assignment to your instructor in one folder.
The purpose of this assignment is for you to work with the director and teachers at the center to plan and execute a field trip with the children at the center or to host a guest speaker for the children. Outside experiences and guest speakers can enrich the curriculum and provide exciting learning opportunities for children. At the same time, planning and executing a field trip or planning for a guest speaker for young children can be a lot of work. This assignment will help you gain experience in choosing an appropriate venue or guest speaker, organizing the details of the trip or speaker, and carrying the activity out. As with all of our assignments in this class, please consider using your work here in your own professional career portfolio.
Planning the Field Trip or Guest Speaker
This assignment is filed in the same folder as the themed lesson plan assignment because you may choose to schedule the field trip or the guest speaker as part of the themed curriculum that you develop. Consult with the center director to determine whether or not this is possible. If you can incorporate the field trip or guest speaker as part of your themed curriculum, you should brainstorm based on the theme that you chose. Ask yourself:
If the director would like you to plan the field trip or guest speaker for a specific time outside of the themed week that you planned, you should plan accordingly. No matter when you plan the field trip or guest speaker experience, it should relate and add to other experiences that the children will engage that week. Work closely with teachers, the director, and parents to make your choice.
Once you have arrived at an idea for a field trip or guest speaker, start planning. Depending on what you choose to do, you may need to consider the following:
Engaging in the Experience
On the day of the trip or if you have a guest speaker, you should have all details taken care of. Parents need to approve of the plan ahead of time. If applicable, children need permission forms and you need to secure an appropriate number of adult volunteers and teachers to help you provide safe guidance during the trip or with the guest speaker. The children should be ready to go.
If possible, video record the field trip or experience. You can submit the video file with your assignment, and you can also use it in your portfolio.
Enjoy the experience with the children. Think of ways to connect the curriculum with this activity, and ask children open-ended questions throughout the experience. After the experience is over, ask the children to talk about what they did, what they liked, and what they learned.
Finally, help the children to plan and prepare a “thank you” card or project to give to the organization or individual that worked with the children during this experience. Saying thank you is important.
Reporting on the Experience
After you have completed the field trip or guest speaker experience, prepare a digital video file of the experience to submit to your instructor (if applicable). The most accessible video files are .avi, .mov, .mpg, .mp4 and .wmv. Please ensure that your instructor can open and view the video file type that you send.
With your video file (if applicable), you also need to submit your planning notes and a 250-500 word report on the experience. Your report should answer the following questions:
To successfully complete the Field Trip or Guest Speaker assignment: