A question I hear a lot is "How do I Create a LOLIPOP Project?", or simply requests for more LOLIPOP Projects. It would be impossible for me to write curriculum for all the potential LOLIPOP Projects, since the topics are limitless--whatever interests your children! But I will, over time, add specific projects to this blog and to my available published curriculum. For now, here is a basic outline or instructions for creating your own LOLIPOP Project. Here is what I do when creating a new LOLIPOP Project.
1 - Decide on a topic. You can ask your children what they want to learn about. Sometimes this doesn't work, because kids, especially younger kids, don't know what the world has to offer and often don't even know what to ask to learn about. But you can always start off by asking them. If this doesn't produce anything you feel you can build a project around, then come up with an idea of your own by thinking about what YOU are interested in. One of you, either the student or the mentor, must be excited about the topic, but sometimes the excitement starts with the mentor and is caught by the student.
2 - Do research and collect resources on your topic. Search amazon.com or your local library for children's books about your topic, search for thematic teaching units on your topic, search the internet for teaching ideas on your topic (you will be surprised how much you will find, for free, posted by creative teachers and parents), and brainstorm with other parents.
3 - Sit down and make a list of all the different activities you found and want to do on your topic. Start by making one, long, rough list. Then stand back and look at the list. Are ALL the activities hands-on and highly interactive? Don't plan to do any lecturing or giving of information and testing in a written format! You can share information, casually, as you and your students are working on the activities. Do you have activities that accomodate each learning style? If you are missing an activity that is primarily linguistic (probably not, since most learning today is linguistic), or kinesthetic, or visual, etc. then brainstorm some activities specifically for that learning style or change some of the activities you have to accomodate different learning styles. Do you have activities based in various subject areas: reading, writing, math, science, art, music, physical activity? If not, then brainstorm for the areas you are missing.
4 - Plan out your 4-6 weeks. Do NOT have a LOLIPOP Project last longer than 6 weeks. If you have more activities than 6 weeks, get rid of some of the activities. It is better to leave your students begging for more than to burn them out on a topic before the project ends. They can continue at home if they are inspired. For each week, plan 2-3 projects. I like to set up stations and allow the students to rotate through the stations. I plan to have all the students rotate to each station, but if a student is really enjoying one station and doesn't want to rotate, he/she can continue where they are or on their own. Don't force them to go to every station, but encourage them to at least give each a try. You should have a parent-helper at each station to explain the instructions to the kids and keep them on task and resolve any issues that may arise.
Most importantly...Have Fun! Remember you goal is to inspire a love for learning and discovery and build their confidence in themselves!