Monday, March 11, 2013

Delight Directed Teaching-Work Plans, Lapbooks, and Montessori

Happy Monday!  This week I am participating in a blog hop with my fellow crew mates on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  Each day we are talking about a different topic for teaching creatively.  You can see the line-up above.

Today we are discussing Delight-Directed Teaching.  Well, if you have read my blog at all, you know that at it's core, that is the definition of Montessori education.  But, I promise not to bore you with another what is Montessori post.  If you want one, you can check out my series from last year on 5 Days of Montessori.  Instead, I thought I'd focus more on how I've been directing the delights of my children lately.

Now, I am all for letting my children choose what they want to work on each day.  But, I have come to the realization that, if I tell my children 'pick anything,' they tend to wander around aimlessly trying to choose the right thing for quite some time.  And, when I say the right thing it often consists of the work that is the easiest or most fun.  I have found that they do, indeed, need some-um-help choosing.

I was SO glad when I began reading about the Montessori work plans on other blogs I read.  My favorite ended up being the plan shared on We Don't Need No Education {she's also a fellow crew mate!}.  Thanks to her, I found out that Montessori for Everyone offers free downloadable-and editable work plans!  Extra bonus was that I could just use their plans if I didn't already have any ideas!  In the future, I want to change to following more of their plans to be sure we don't miss anything.

I have both Mustang and Charger following work plans.  Here is a peak at Mustang's:

Now, this was my very first time writing one, so I found a few mistakes in my choices.  First off, I do not type a new one everyday, so leaving the date on there was silly-as was leaving the 'works chosen' area of the 2nd page.  Second, I didn't leave a way to document doing a work more then once.  But, overall this has been a great addition to our home Montessori classroom!

So how it works:  I require that she chooses 3 works per day-at least one must be language or math.  I got pretty detailed on some of them because we are using a curriculum and it was just easier to write out the actual lesson title.  After one is completed, she gets to check it off, and move on to the next.  The hope was that she finish the plan in the month...but that's my other error.  I didn't actually consider multiple times doing a work and days we didn't have school when I wrote the work plan.  I'll try to do better next month!!

The choices:  Some are pretty self explanatory, but I wanted to focus on three of the topics specifically. Knights and Castles, Astronomy and Space, and Earth.  We were offered a chance to review a few lapbooks from A Journey to Learning.  When I first thought about the product, I dismissed it out of hand and thought it would not work with our learning style...then I had an idea!  

I decided to go ahead and print out the lesson, lapbook pages, and extra learning ideas I came up with for 6 of the lessons on each one.  Then, I placed them on our shelves.  I added them to our work plan, and encouraged Charger to try them out and see which subject interested her.  This style has been a hit!  She has happily chosen both the Knights and Castles and the Astronomy and Space works.  I am hoping she eventually chooses Earth-but Charger has been all about the Earth lessons so it's all been used.  I will have more information on that when I do my review :).

Using the work plans has brought a new level of accomplishment to our day. I now have a better way of measuring how much work was done and can gage if it was productive or not.  It allows the kids to still make their own decisions, but helps them focus on what-exactly-their choices are.  

They also allow me to see which works need to be made and when.  This has been key for my sanity since in the past I have made work that no one touched and it annoyed me to no end!  At least I know that, eventually, someone will touch the work I have made, and also lets me know which kinds of work they really enjoy.  

Mustang has been choosing a lot of science-even her Apologia textbook and notebook-while Charger seems to choose math as his favorite.  My next challenge is going to be how to engage Mini Cooper, but that's for another post :).

Overall, the impact the Montessori work plans have had here are wonderful and I am soooo glad that we are using them!!!  

What about you? Are you using a work plan?  Which one?  How do you set it up?  Or, what other ways have you found to lead delight directed learning in your home?  To see what my fellow crew mates have done, see the crew blog or check out the links below!  

Happy Schooling and God Bless!!  


We are also linking up to 

Montessori Monday


Discovering Montessori said...

Nice post! I am so glad to hear that the Work Plan available at Montessori for Everyone is working well for you guys. I like the idea of adding in a spot for the days that they actually did the work, we use a work journal for this.

Thank you for sharing.

Michele said...

This sounds a little overwheling to me as the teacher, but let me say is FABULOUS that your girls are learning at an early age how to make decisions for themselves and be in control of their own school. That is a lesson I wish I had done better on with my first two! It is a necessary skill in college! ;)

Audra Silva said...

I'm in the process of trying to come up with a plan that makes sense for our family - especially since we're dealing with a mystery illness with our son.

A rigid schedule doesn't seem to be working, but maybe a check sheet for the week listing academic subjects on one side, and productive free time pursuits on the other would be useful. :)