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Tips for Multi-Level Planning
Kathryn L. Stout, B.S.Ed., M.Ed.
Published: October 1998
E-mail to yourself
Here’s one approach to developing a working outline that is easily adapted to multi-level teaching.
Divide a planning page into three columns with the headings Subject, Names, and Resources.
1. Column 1: List all the subjects you will cover during the year:
2. List subtopics or objectives under the subject. Whenever possible, choose those that several children can work on. For example, first aid would be a subtopic in science that could be studied by everyone.
3. Column 2: Next to each subtopic or subject write the name or initials of each child that will be studying in that area.
4. Column 3: Next to the names, list any books, games, field trips, software, and other resources you want to use in that subject with those children. Activities can be written out in order to have an easy reference for gathering materials or in order to remember what was already done when planning in the future. Otherwise, simply write the title and page numbers of the resource to be used. Note any connections between subjects. For example, a topic listed for a composition may be followed by (science) because it connects to that subject.
5. Outside activities can usually be assigned to a subject area, but when that is not the case, include it on your list as an additional subject in order to have a complete profile of each child’s work load.
6. The outline does not have to cover the entire year, it can be expanded as you go. Because it is a working plan, you will add to and subtract from as experience dictates. Allow yourself room to go on tangents rather than feeling bound to the plan, adding it to the list as a point of record keeping. It is not necessary to give each subject area equal time or weight, but it is important that over a period of time there is some balance.
7. If you write your outline on a computer, you can delete anything not done, add new ideas and resources as you go, and by the end of the year have a permanent record with a minimum of effort. Detailed objectives covered can be checked off within the Design-A-Study books, or on the charts included in some of the guides, with dates and initials for a permanent record. This also makes future planning easier, since you can see at a glance what has been covered and what still needs to be included.
Sample: Since I received a request for this kind of help, the following sample is written for two children—Xavier, age 5 who is able to read, and Alina, age 3, who is learning to read. Sample subtopics, objectives, and activity ideas are taken from Design-A-Study books. I did not attempt to provide a complete plan, simply a model to which other materials and ideas could be added.
There are a wide variety of ways to keep records and you may find your methods changing year to year. At the very minimum it is helpful in the long run to maintain lists of books read and videos watched, field trips, outside classes (art, sports, music) and titles of resources used in every subject area, as well as samples of compositions.
Once children enter high school record-keeping needs are different. Each student needs his own record. Information about each subject should include the number of hours spent in that subject, titles of all resources used, all assigned activities and tests with accompanying grades. Outside activities should be listed with dates of participation and total hours. This information will then be used to put together a transcript and a resume. The hours are used to determine whether the subject is one credit or less (180 hours per credit). The activities and/or tests can be used to determine a grade, but should also be kept on file for future reference.
Records must be kept, but finding the method that works best for our own situation often requires some experimenting. Hopefully, some of you will be able to use this model to make your job a bit easier.