SummaryBy separating the subjects, your Seton lesson plans are now fully customized which will avoid confusion, especially for new families.
Looking back over the history of Seton, there have been several watershed moments for our curriculum. In the 1980s, we started writing our own workbooks. We started publishing our books in full color in the 1990s. In the 2010s, we started making online courses available for high school. Now, we are revamping the way we present lesson plans.
We are in the middle of a project to re-design all lesson plans with a full-color layout. There are other significant format changes which improve their functionality.
I wanted to introduce these changes to you here in the magazine and give you more insight into our process and the features and reasons behind the new design.
If you have had a student using our new Kindergarten or First Grade Phonics/Reading program or enrolled in high school in the past two years, you might have already seen some examples of individual colorized lesson plans.
This year, we have also upgraded about half of our elementary lesson plans. By the summer of 2023, we expect to have all courses completed.
This year, applying this format throughout elementary and junior high has been a huge focus for our curriculum development and Visual Arts Departments. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
While every grade level has at least one course with the new format, all elementary is a mix of newly colorized and original black and white lesson plans.
The Catholic philosophical tradition has always held that beauty is something good in itself. As the Book of Wisdom says, “For from the greatness and beauty of created things come a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wis 13:5).
Traditional Catholic artwork has been a hallmark of Seton’s books since we started printing in color. Exposure to beauty is important for our students, but it is also important for our parents, and that is why we have extended this philosophy to our lesson plans.
You can expect to see sacred art on all of the individual lesson plan covers and inside most lesson plans, along with other images related to the subject matter.
The new format is far more than just an attractive appearance. Several new features make lesson plans easier for parents or older students.
First, we now clearly distinguish between tasks/assignments and further explanation or suggested optional activities.
Each specific task now has a box you can check off when it is completed, so you can see at a glance the most important things which need to be done. This separation of core tasks from optional assignments should make a huge difference, especially if you feel overwhelmed or behind.
If a course uses multiple books, each task now shows a small picture of the book corresponding to the assignment.
We have also added color-coding for different kinds of tasks, so if the assignment is to read pages 55-57 in one of your Faith and Freedom Readers, there will be a picture of the reader that contains the selection.
The task will also be color-coded to show it is an assignment that involves reading from a book. Assignments that involve writing will be a different color. The purely optional activities will have their own color as well.
Separation of Subjects
With the introduction of new art, changes in font sizes, and making sure each distinct task has its own line with a check box, the new formatting increased the page count of some of the larger lesson plans.
Each subject looks like its own little booklet with its sacred art covers. This presented an opportunity to change the way we package our lesson plans.
Instead of coming as two large packets, one having all the daily lesson plans and the other having all the answer keys, tests, and quarter report forms, lesson plans will now come grouped by subject.
For example, English lesson plans, tests, keys, etc., will arrive as a separate piece from the Religion lesson plans, tests, keys, etc. Everything will still be three-hole-punched, so if you have a binder system you like to use, you can continue to use that.
Separating the subjects eliminates a common cause of confusion for many families. Previously, the lesson plans for all of the default courses for a grade level were pre-packaged together. If a student took any courses not part of the default list, we would add the additional individual lesson plan.
So, for example, if you were doing 4th Grade but using the alternate MCP Math 4 course in place of Seton Math 4, you would get the lesson plans for both.
We can now fully customize which lesson plans we are sending for a student by separating the subjects. We expect that this new system will avoid confusion, especially for new families.
I wanted to especially thank our Visual Arts team (Joe Sparks, Emily Prause, Kristen Ehiem, and Felicity Egan) and the Curriculum Development team (John Adams and Thomas Centrella), who saw this project through from conception to launch.