PROGRAM PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT (10 Hours) LEVEL 3-4
Documentation Management: Teacher Portfolio and Storage
Create a system (Teaching Portfolio) to file every lesson plan, activity, event, information, learning activity and list of supplies needed. As you design each new lesson plan or modify an existing plan file it. Binders work great for storing because they become a reference book that can be easily accessed if needed. There can be a binder for each season, academic week or you can create a binder for each content area. You can put songs, rhymes and transition games on 5x7 cards and tuck them into the pockets for easy access when you need a little extra for the day. It is a good idea not to take the individual sheets out as the process of putting everything back together is time consuming, can cause you to misplace them and may discourage you from using the binders’ effectively.
Files and file boxes are handy, but from experience I have found that getting the information you want in a timely fashion is not as easy as pulling a binder from the shelf. Often file boxes are tucked away on a shelf, or in a closet making the information difficult to access when you need it.
In this day and age many educators collect and store resources, lesson plans, observations and assessment information on their computers. Having this information on your computer gives you the opportunity to send pictures to interested parties, modify information as needed, and to print off information you want to post for parents and licensors. From my own experience I can say that maintaining the accuracy of your computer filing system needs to be kept up or trying to find that one great idea can be lost in the hundreds of ideas you have collected. This is where printing off the whole lesson and resources and putting it in your binder according to when you will use it really helps and reduces frustration. It also gives you a record of when you used the lesson within the academic year.
Computers and tablets are a great tool to collect resources but cumbersome to bring to the circle area or group table for immediate use. So, go ahead and use the computer, but for easy access I suggest printing off the completed lesson plan and information you will be using and putting it in the binder for use in the classroom.
You may like using a tablet or your phone and it can be very handy. However a paper copy won’t fall and crack its screen, crash, run out of power or have a toddler accidentally delete it when you are not looking. So keep this in mind if this is your main source of recalling the information you need for the day.
Taking a picture and printing out a visual representation of a learning activity or art project is much easier to keep as a record in your binder or computer file. With the advent of great cameras on cell phones this would only take a few seconds to do and pictures (artifacts) are then easy to upload and store in your computer file. Many parents enjoy receiving a picture of their child actively engaged in childcare with a description. (Caution: be sure you are sending the picture to the right parent.)This also makes it easier on the child who wants to take their creation home, because you already have it documented. Projects that are 3 dimensional often become mangled, and because of the bulk difficult to keep on file safely.
The same is true for active or movement activities, and environment set up. Take pictures of these and put them in your binder and or upload them to your computer file. Short video clips will help you to remember songs, games or the way in which you tell a felt board story are really helpful months or years later when you want to repeat the learning activity months or years later.
Your lesson plan will pull together several elements: academic, social and emotional, physical, cognitive, exploratory (STEM) and more. From your observations you will have discovered how individual children learn best, if there are any delays or red flags that need to be addressed or at least taken into consideration. This will help you to develop instructional methods that will help you meet as many needs as possible. Remember, that it is not uncommon to find that groups of children will have the same learning styles, needs and interests. Only a few children may have special needs or will need special accommodations. This differentiated learning approach makes learning relevant and helps children retain the information.