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Friday, November 21, 2008

My Method: Planning a TOG Unit

We're currently on a two week break from our lessons, and I'm planning out the 2nd quarter of our year. Yesterday I planned 9 weeks of TOG in about 45 minutes and a friend who struggles with organization said she wants to be able to do this too. So, I'm posting every step I take in preparing a TOG unit (minus the TOG curricula details). A disclaimer- I am only doing this for 1 child, if multiple children, a spreadsheet could be made for each child if this process is appealing.

1. Pick the level of study: LG, UG, D, R. Choose your books based on what you feel your child will do best with.
Right now I'm blending LG and UG to help transition Camille to UG by the end of the year. I cannot give details (titles) but overall I'm picking UG literature and geography and using LG selections for everything else. She's also in Level 2 of Writing Aids.

2. It helps to have in mind how your week will flow.
I know when I'm picking items to include in our week, I factor in how much time it will take to accomplish it. If it seems too much, I won't include it on the spreadsheet. I still filter things out as we do them but being able to filter some just for the spreadsheet helps.

3. Read the Introductory notes for the Unit.
This will provide an overview of the unit's objectives and help set a frame of mind as you're making your choices.

4. Create your spreadsheet.
This can be done Excel or any other program you have to make tables or spreadsheets. I use Appleworks b/c I'm on a Mac, although this is an old program. Microsoft Works should have something similar. Here is a sample spreadsheet with all the details taken out.
I love having a spreadsheet, it becomes my 'cheat' sheet and the only time I have to open our Tapestry unit is to read the Teacher's Notes.

5. Print out Student Activity Pages, MapAids (if you use it), Evaluations (if you use it)
I go to the Loom and print out the Student Activity Pages for each week as well as any maps from MapAids we'll need and Evaluations that I want to use. I also print out the page for Fine Arts & Activities most of the time and highlight with a highlight marker activities I think we'll do that are suggested.

Usually the Geography activities are listed under Fine Art so I'll also highlight those. I put these in Camille's notebook with her Student Activity page and map from MapAids. To save paper, I print the activities on 1 side of a piece of paper and the SAP on the other side.

I also photocopy anything we'll need from Activity Books or Dover coloring books we're using- paper crafts or any prep work I can do ahead of time. If I choose to go ahead and cut items I put them in a page protector within her notebook to keep them safe. I don't tend to do this although it does save time when I do!

6. Collect your books and materials on one shelf
This is a time-saver for me, I have one place to go for our materials.

Now TOG is a do-the-next-thing subject for us, with just a little bit of planning.

Both Camille and I can look at the spreadsheet to see what needs to be done in a week's time. I do not schedule out daily assignments but we still get everything done in a week. At times we drop activities or books to read. Here's look into what we currently do weekly:

Start reading the Core Book
Start reading the In-Depth book (if there is one)
Reading the Read-Aloud selection at bedtime

Finish the In-Depth book
Dd8 starts reading the Literature book (if she didn't start on Monday due to length)
Start working on Map Work /Writing Aids or other Project (if any)
Reading the Read-Aloud selection at bedtime

Finish Core book if haven't
Keep reading Literature book
Work on Map work/Project
Reading the Read-Aloud selection at bedtime

Finish Literature reading, work on SAP
Finish any other reading for the week- I usually divide it up by days (dividing # of pages by # of days)
Work on (finish) map work/project
Reading the Read-Aloud selection at bedtime

Finish up day for anything lingering
Reading the Read-Aloud selection at bedtime (most of these last more than 1 week)




Alane @RaH said...

I really like you methodology. I am bookmarking this for Dec/Jan. We'll start TOG Y3 U3 in January. Any planning tips are welcome!

Joelle said...

Just found your blog. Found this very helpful.