curriculum or going rogue?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Mar 21, 2018

    I remember when I was student teaching, my mentor showed me the school resource room. Stacks of curricular materials were lined along the wall, offering boxed assessments, differentiation, and sequenced objectives. My nose definitely went way up. I couldn't imagine using some canned material. I was going to make all my own stuff as an amazing creative teacher!

    Well, I'm 6 years in, guys, and totally over it. :toofunny:I've been doing my own thing in ELA, compiling from the Internet and whatever else I can find from other teachers. It takes SO MUCH TIME. Today, someone screwed up in my district and somehow made me an Administrator on something called "Pearson Realize." All I know is I'm able to get the full resources for both Reading Street and the middle school curriculum...and I'm definitely stealing a bunch of stuff before they catch on. :whistle:

    I still don't believe in scripted programs...but man, it's nice not to have to make up every single thing. Young FourSquare was stupid! Do you like the autonomy of doing everything yourself, or do you follow a curriculum for ease of planning?
     
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  3. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Mar 21, 2018

    Yes. And No.
    Depends on my students. Depends on their needs. Depends if I'm in a relicensing year. So my answer to this question is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Kind of depends on a lot of factors.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I bought an entire year of biology curriculum from Teachers Paid Teachers and pretty much used it as it was with only some slight additions or subtractions. It made teaching an all new class easy peasy while I dealt with the stress of writing all new curriculum for my other science class.
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I like following a good curriculum; I even would like to have a scripted curriculum if it was the right one. I do not like the program my school currently has. Right now I'm gathering from a lot of resources. The freedom is nice, but it's a lot of work.
     
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  6. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2018

    Do you not “can” your own stuff for personal use in the future so as to avoid reinventing the wheel?
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I think there's a difference between using curricular materials "as a script" and "as a resource". I use them as a resource. In fact, my district prides itself on how teachers write the curriculum. Our district administrators are very clear that they will purchase published materials for us to use as a resource but that we are not to follow those published materials as if they are the district-approved curriculum. We write all of our own unit plans (or use the ones that past teachers in our district wrote), and we pull from published materials when they fit in with our teacher-written curriculum. When none of the published materials fit, we create our own.

    It's a ton of work and sometimes just doesn't seem worth it. I really appreciate the ease of being able to pull from a published resource, but I do think it's important for teachers to be intentional about when and how we use a resource rather than just following it from front to back or as a script.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I've always followed a ciurriculum guide just to keep myself on track. I've always made it myself (or with my grade-level partner) using our state standards. From that point, I map out my daily objectives.

    I don't think I could handle following a script, but I'm all about scavenging activities and text from wherever I can. Our textbook has a complete curriculum with it, but we just use it as a resource. The only time I use it for the whole curriculum is when I have students on long-term home instruction. I have the teacher who visits them use the textbook curriculum because it is way easier.
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I think of curriculum as a backbone, or a structure, to the year. Within that structure, many of the curriculum pieces are used, but then others are brought in, and sometimes we'll take slight deviations from that structure. The kids benefit from having that structure, and it also keeps me centered. Do I only use it? No, not at all. But there's also an equity piece at play - parents should expect that their child gets somewhat the same education from any given teacher in a grade level (though there will clearly be key differences; my major philosophies differ from my colleagues, and as a result, the emphasis will differ).
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm fairly neutral. I love a good curriculum. I don't think a teacher should be judged on ability to write a curriuclum but on how well they... teach.
     
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  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I also view the curriculum as a way to make sure that i teach everything that I need to teach. It would be easy to focus on the things that I like without focusing on the standards without some kind of guide.
     
  12. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    For sure....but in my context, I've changed grade levels or subjects almost every year. It's been hard to re-use a lot of things. :eek:
     
  13. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    I wouldn't want to have to use an exact script of every text and activity I'd be using, but having resources definitely helps. I like having freedom, but I also like having something to build on.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I don't know how true this is, but my admin was recently stating the research shows kids move through literacy better with a basal curriculum.
     
  15. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Nope, don't use the boxed curriculum. But I have found AMAZING items on teacherspayteachers. Those resources I use almost daily.
     
  16. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    This. My district doesn't have much in terms of canned curriculum. We have been using MI2 for math (which has been hit or miss as far as being used as written) for a long time and are switching to Eureka next year. Math requires a bit more of a "scripted" approach, but we're free to supplement as needed. We just got the F&P Classroom set for guided reading, which I fully intend to use next year because planning guided reading is incredibly time consuming, and one thing Fountas and Pinnell do really well is guided reading instruction.
    Science is a bit more on the resource side. We have the National Geographic science curriculum, which I mostly like. However, it's very reading-heavy and after a couple days that gets incredibly boring. I always plan with a lot of hands-on, inquiry-based activities and use the books as supplemental learning or to solidify vocab. Social Studies has no curriculum, though the district has unit outlines within our GVC/pacing guide and those are usually a good starting point (I taught very few of those lessons as-written though; some were dead boring).

    I LOVE the autonomy teachers have in my district. I've subbed in the other nearby districts and they have scripted curriculum for everything, and it's just... kinda boring most of the time. Obviously teachers do a lot that they don't leave for subs, but I don't know that I would like having every subject just handed to me. I enjoy planning at least part of the day or week. This summer I'm hoping to do some unit planning so I have less weekly planning to do, but even that is just because I enjoy doing it. My job right now as an interventionist has me using the LLI curriculum, and it's honestly a little bit stifling. I'm bored out of my mind because I don't get to plan any of it. My "prep" for the week consists of about 5 minutes of printing pages, and then a few minutes swapping out folders from the kit. The only good thing about it is that I have time now to work on my Master's.

    But I do really miss planning. And teaching other subjects. And having a classroom.
     
  17. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I can see that being true. Usually grammar and spelling are incorporated along with the reading, so it's a little more well-rounded (at least with a good curriculum).
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I've followed the exact same path. In one of my ST placements the teacher used a scripted intervention program and I was flat out horrified. It seemed very "boring" to me and I remember basically thinking how much better I could do. My first year, the sped director listed off a bunch of programs and asked if I had experience with any of them, and I was again horrified. I remember actually going to my principal within the first 2 weeks of school (I can't imagine doing this now- I guess being young and naive made me bold ;)) and telling her that I didn't become a teacher to read a script and that I wasn't going to use the canned curriculum. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she didn't get along with the sped director, so she told me to nod and smile and then do whatever I wanted!

    I'm 8 years in now and have always done my own thing, but this year my new P brought in a whole bunch of reading intervention programs. At first, I just used small bits, like just the decodable stories. When I started looking into the programs more, it was pretty much almost exactly the way I taught already doing "my own thing" ( guess I could have sold the waterfall intervention program for millions!)

    It's literally taken me until within the past month or so to get fully on board, but I'm finally really using the programs my P bought. Again, it's very similar to the way I already taught, BUT I don't have to spend time making my own materials or coming up with my own lists of words/sentences etc. I'm not reading from the script...I sometimes add or take away things, and I particularly like to make the activities more multisensory. I have also found over the years that my students seem happiest and most engaged when they feel successful, even if the activities may seem like they'd be "boring." When I was starting out I felt like everything had to be game-like or a dog and pony show production.
     

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