Sunday, September 28, 2008

Planning all those many programs that I present.

I read a lot of children's books. I like to say I read a lot of books but most of them only have about 32 pages and lots of pictures. I read a lot of professional magazines to select books. Also I enjoy pouring over the publisher's catalogues which arrive by the dozens every month. When I am planning programs I come up with a list of themes that I want to use for the school year September -May or for the summer June-August for Summer Reading. When I have my list of themes then I decide when I'll use each theme. Some themes I will include every year like trains, firefighters, circus, bears, cows, cats, dogs, community helpers, holidays (Christmas, Valentine's and Easter), Zoo and friends. Frequently I'll order books that are new on the market to use for programs to enhance the program. When I select books for a Story Hour program I look for books that have nice big pictures and I love books that are conducive to the use of character voices.

The next thing I will usually do is check my Flannelboard files to see if I have a Flannelboard story, game or ABC folder for the themes I've selected. Since I have been making Flannelboard stories for 16 years now, there is a pretty good collection and I can use what I already have on hand. But sometimes a new program idea will beg for a new Flannelboard game or ABC folder.
I've taught a Flannelboard class at Johnston Community College since before 1997.
Every week for every theme I like to make a teacher/parent packet as well as activity/coloring sheets for children and students. I've acquired an excellent collection of clip art and teacher resource books to use for programming ideas and activity sheet ideas.
The copier is my friend. I think I could make copies with enlargements with my eyes closed. Our current copier is a dream come true. It has lots of useful bells and whistles which make my job a lot easier.
I have a bookcase just for the books that are for programs that I will be presenting. Programs must be planned well in advance so that the books will be available for themes that I have selected. Just so that the book will be available when I need it I will either order a second copy or check out books three months in advance. There is nothing worse than needing a book that I consider my anchor book for a theme and it is checked out and not due back until after my program is finished. Most of the time I have 100-200 books checked out for programs. When I present programs for H.E.L.P. (Homeschool Enrichment Library Programs) I order plenty of books and check out lots of books on the subject of the program and have them available for checkout by the children attending these programs. Books that I use for Story Stars are often used for the Presbyterian Preschool and WEE programs too, but I will often have a couple of books that I can switch out if I find that a book doesn't work as well as I had hoped at a program. Flexible is my middle name when it comes to programs. My Friday program seldom looks exactly like my Tuesday program even using the same theme and books.
Planning ahead is an important part of Programming. I will often find books that I want to use for programs when I am shelving books or straightening shelves.

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