Individualized Timetables, Interests, Needs and the End of Busy Work

We started our second week of school with a class meeting to discuss our week’s plans. I presented literacy, math and Unit of Inquiry projects and tasks. Then, I shared a copy of this week’s timetable.

timetable

I asked if anyone had used a schedule like this and all said it was new to them. I explained they would be planning their week and there were tasks on the left they must make sure were included.

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Sign-up Sessions

There were sign-up sessions offered on math and writing during Self Directed Learning (SDL) time. This week, we wrote ‘About the Author’ biographies to use later when publishing. Each student was asked to sign up for one session to work with me in a small group on writing. This gave me a chance to give a mini-lesson on form and style, read each student’s writing and for them to ask questions. The math session was a small personal session for how we are going to move forward even if we haven’t memorized basic math facts. Each week the sessions will change depending on the learning needs.

Agency

We have started the school year with agency and this includes individualized timetables. There were only a couple of blank spots each day to plan for self-directed learning as we already had a busy week. There was enough time to plan for assignments and time for choice.

Interests and Needs

Our class has a wide variety of individual needs like all classes. Each child planning their schedule allows for flexibility of time, interest and needs. When students plan their timetable they plan according to their interests and motivation while understanding tasks which need to be completed. A group of boys chose to read on the sofas for the first hour on Monday. Time well spent.

The End of Busy Work

On Tuesday, I administered reading assessments. This meant we needed a day of quiet learning. We made a list of choices which included reading, writing, a Unit of Inquiry task as well as drawing. In my early teaching, I would have looked for ‘seat work’ to keep them busy. That was my past. With students choosing their learning engagements, individualized timetables end busy work. We also recognize art, breaks to re-energize the brain, getting to know your friends as worthy pursuits.

Responsibility

Will each child take responsibility for their learning? My expectations are realistic. This will be more difficult for some students than others. Is it worthwhile to learn how to plan your time? This will take practice. Let’s start learning it now in the younger years when we are establishing skills for success.

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“You can see what you are doing next and the whole week. The teacher doesn’t do all the talking and we can be more independent.”   -Sakura

“Everyone is doing things when they want to do it. It’s more fun and you can organize your time.”   -Sophia

“When it’s individual, we have time to choose for our self, and we understand ourselves more sometimes, so I think it’s better.”   -Roger

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