One of my students favorite planning activities is using flashlights to plan. We close the blinds and turn out the lights. We tip toe to the area that we are going to play in and shine our light on it. Another activity that they really enjoy is when I allow them to choose what they plan with. I will pick someone who has been exceptionally good and ask them to choose an item that they would like to plan with. They usually come up with something that I had never thought of planning with!
There are some great ideas for planning on this site. I’m going to give you an idea that has to do with purchasing the area you’d like to work in. The teacher has a cash register and objects from each area. At planning time the teacher will hand out play money and as she hands out the money will say, “Tommy here’s some play money for planning and you’ll be first, Sally here’s some play money and you’ll be second”, and so on. (When the children are told who they will be after or told the order of when is their turn they tend to be patient when waiting their turns). So after everyone gets their money the teacher asks the first child what area would you like to purchase and as they get that area they exchange the money like if they were really at a store and then ask them what will they be working with at this area. I work in an ESE Mainstream model and this planning activity really keeps the child’s attention and it’s very motivating.
One I use for planning is to use a microphone. I start by pretending to be a disk jockey welcoming the students to my planning time. I chose a student who plans his/her area. that student takes over and chooses another student until each has a turn. the students really love it!
Take pictures of all the children in your classroom, and place them on felt pieces or refrigerator magnets. Have the pictures of each of the areas on either a felt board or a magnet board. The child can move the picture of him/herself to the area they would like to work.
Planning cans (I love to recycle) Use empty Pringles containers and place each picture of the area on the individual cans that you have saved. Using the pictures of the child that you have taken and placed on felt have them drop the picture of themselves into a can when planning.