Planning for the next school year can be tough. There is a great deal to consider but after much negotiation and perseverance we have it. Read below to discover what factors need to be considered when making your year calendar:
By the time you are putting your year plan together, you should have already allocated your outcomes to the units you would like to do. I.E.: Grade 3:
The order of the units is quite important to consider as well. Start with the simpler units and progress to the more complex units. For Kindergarten, we like to start out with a games unit as it introduces the students to simple chasing games (Stuck in the Mud, Shark, etc.) that they can play during recess and have simple rules to follow. Then, afterwards it progresses to Target Games. Some of our games taught in the initial unit can be layered to suit the Target Games unit. Unfortunately, for this year, we will start on an Adventure Challenge unit due to our ability to link with their homeroom unit.
This is quite fundamental in a PYP school. You will need to investigate what the homerooms and other disciplines are doing at certain times of the year and discover where genuine areas of integration can occur. I stress, genuine, areas of integration.
Referring to the calendar above, you can see the units in green. These are full integration units, where we use the same central idea, same lines of inquiry and concepts.
The units highlighted in purple are integrated but to a lesser extent. We have different central ideas and lines of inquiry but we stress the similar big ideas. In Kindergarten for unit 3, the students undertake a Target Games unit. In the homeroom, the students are learning about celebrations. So we discuss the Olympics, try a few events from it and then hold a Kindergarten Olympics at the end of the unit.
The units in brown are units we are unable to integrate with completely but still do at the conceptual level, the transdisciplinary skills and the writing styles (recount, narrative, etc.) and anything else we can try – math, etc.
Since PE teachers are predominantly outside, we do need to take the weather into consideration. Particularly if your respective school has limited facilities. We tried to limit our units requiring large outdoor space during winter. Units such as Movement Composition, Body Systems and Adventure Challenge were usually scheduled during autumn and winter. Movement Composition is usually performed in our dance studio, whenever we can get in. Body Systems can be performed in any available space inside if the weather outside is unfavourable. Since the cold here can get to negative double digits, my students usually look like mini-Michelin men, so they are not very manoeuvrable for units such as Net Games or Invasion Games. Therefore, Adventure Challenge works well at this time of year.
To encourage participation in our sports program to compete against other schools, we did our best to schedule our units during the lead up of certain sports events. Not only will this help the coaches as the kids had some exposure to their chosen sport but it will provide a wider pool for the coaches to select their team from.
You will also need to consider the workload for your PE teachers. If you have Athletics for Grade 4 and then straight to Adventure Challenge for Grade 2, you will have a ridiculous amount of set-up for both. It will be even harder if you do have these classes back-to-back. We tried to get at least 2 classes to do the same unit at the same time. We could not do more than that since we only have limited equipment to share between classes.
Some schools have purchase order procedures that are painstakingly slow or incredibly efficient. Either way, you do need to take into consideration the time it can take to order equipment. If you foresee that your equipment order will take an extended time to arrive then schedule that unit for later.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when scheduling your year plan. But it is up to you to determine what is priority. Do you favour integration or feel that you will have better lessons once your brand new equipment has arrived? It is entirely up to you and your priorities. Good luck to all of you for the school year 2017-2018.