So… I may or may not have stayed up until almost midnight last night. Having a now six week old son (who is going through one heck of a growth spurt, I might add!), you’d probably assume I was feeding him or trying to get him to sleep. NOPE! After getting Beau and Ellie both down a little after 9, I was suddenly overcome with the urge to do some lesson planning for my return to work in early November. Darn you, teacher brain that never shuts off! I just can’t help myself! I’ve had SO many exciting ideas floating around my head for my pull-out groups, and I couldn’t sleep until I wrote them down and mapped them out.
I quickly realized that planning for pull-out enrichment groups and Gifted and Talented classes is VERY different from regular classroom planning. For one thing, I have a huge amount of flexibility in terms of my objectives, lessons, and resources, which is both exciting and WAY out of my element. Knowing that I have the freedom to appeal to all eight multiple intelligences without the confines of traditional curriculum is something I’ve never experienced as a teacher, and it’s exhilarating!
Another major difference is the instructional time – or lack thereof – that I’m limited to with each of my groups. As a part-time teacher, I will only teach each group of students for 45 minutes to an hour per week, meaning our projects and activities will stretch over several sessions. In other words, my planning will be done more on a monthly basis as opposed to a daily or weekly basis. This definitely requires me to narrow down my TONS of ideas to the ones that get the most bang for my buck, and also appeal to the widest variety of intelligences and learning modalities.
I’m not sure which groups I’m most excited about because I have so many amazing things planned for each! Obviously, most of these lessons will not take up the entire month and I’ll have to fill in the holes with additional objectives, but it feels SO good to have a head start and get my big ideas “penciled in” for the year!
Here’s what I’ve got on the calendar (August through October, I get to be a full time mommy!):
Some of my go-to curricular materials will be Everyday Math and Junior Great Books. Everyday Math has 7-10 unit enrichment projects in the very back of the teachers’ edition that the majority of regular education teachers don’t get to, mostly due to lack of time. These projects are perfect for enrichment as they often involve small group exploration and hands on inquiry. My goal is to teach these lessons to my 2nd and 3rd grade Math Enrichment groups as well as my Kindergarten GT group. More info about Everyday Math can be found here:
I am SO excited to try out Junior Great Books because I remember using (and loving) this program as a student. We didn’t have “GT” back then, but we did have pull-out programs for advanced readers, and I loved the small group discussions that we had using these books. Essentially, it’s a high-level shared inquiry program involving literature circles, and I plan to blog more about it as I teach it for the first time this year. More info can be found here:
My next huge goal was to incorporate STEM activities as much as possible! However, the trouble with most of the resources/websites I found was that they were geared more toward upper grades instead of lower grade students, and they also were lacking in actual lesson plans/materials to put into immediate practice. I started following a few STEM Pinterest boards and came across a FABULOUS TpT seller, Smart Chick, that specializes in STEM lessons! She has several freebies and TONS of STEM packets ready for purchase and download that are perfect for lower grade students. I purchased her Minecraft packet and STEM monthly home projects and can’t wait to try her Gingerbread Man Trap and Snowball Catapult lessons! You can visit her TpT store below: