Every year, it seems like I start off dedicated to following my basal/textbook curriculum with fidelity, decide it's not working in the middle of the year, and then do my own thing towards the end. My curriculum is a very popular one and used in many schools. It's the expectation that we'll use it, although no one setting that expectation (higher-ups) really knows much about it. How much do you rely on your curriculum and how much do you supplement? Our curriculum has so much to it that it's hard to do both.

Because my district micromanages I have no choice but to be on pace with the curriculum. Each week we have to submit which lessons will be covered in ELA and math. We can not be more than a week off pace. Things let up towards the last few weeks of school but for the most part there is always a chance that someone will pop in with a clipboard checking to make sure you're on pace.

Do you find that the pacing works for your students? Actually because my school says "use this curriculum" but doesn't go through too much effort to check up on it, I think it makes it harder for those who do try to keep up with the pacing and implement the curriculum as intended. Everyone is modifying in inconsistent ways. I had a parent complain that I overtested last year, but actually I was giving fewer tests than what the curriculum suggests. Turns out that the previous teacher had not used the curriculum assessments at all. If everyone taught the curriculum the same way throughout grade levels, it would provide good consistency. That's why I go back and forth on my opinion of how much to use it.

This pace only works for my brightest students. We use Eureka Math and there is no time built in for small group or remedial instruction. That makes it hard to move on when I know the kids aren't ready. With ELA it's easier to stay on pace because we have small group time built into the curriculum. Even still some of the lowere performing students never have enough time to catch up. But I still have to keep moving or risk being called in to explain why I'm not on pace.

We, as a district, write our own curriculum and supplement with a variety of resources - some supplied by the district and some that we've found on our own. Generally, a grade level team is on the same unit, but we are not all on the same teaching point. We're often a few days or even up to two weeks off pace from one another. We absolutely don't follow any sort of guide with a day-to-day plan. Our administration supports us in being responsive to the needs of our own students, as long as we're meeting standards and generally following the unit essential questions and enduring understandings.

The situation is this--we're teaching kids not programming robots. Everyone's brain is different. A basal curriculum, however, is not aware of the specific students in the classroom. (A basal curriculum is a book or a disc, not aware of anything). Some students in a math class will only achieve, let's say, 80% accuracy on independent practice. Does that mean they're deficient? No. It means their brains are exploring and discovering. 80% is often considered minimum for passing, but those students without further guidance are still missing out on 20% of complete discovery. Moving ahead to the next concept, they are still 20% behind. Teachers often comment on these students, saying, "They could achieve more if they tried harder." Meanwhile these students decide, "I'm just dumb at math." Their parents excuse their supposed deficiency by saying, "Well, I was never good at math, either," or "They're just not made out to be mathematicians." The truth, however, is that these students are probably quite efficient at math--they just learn the concepts differently than the students who score 95-100%. Then again, those students are scoring 95-100%, but that's on a math paper--that doesn't always mean they actually, totally comprehend the concepts. Albert Einstein has become a mantra of an example, but it's true, I believe, for most students. They are capable of achieving in math. Babies are born with the ability to do simple calculations. A student makes a mistake in a math problem. That is not bad--that's good! Aside from the few who actually might be just slopping down answers to finish early, mistakes in the algorithm are usually almost correct. The student was thinking and applying. Mistakes lead to further learning. Hey, the same thing, I believe, happens to students who score 100%. They began the lesson without 100% knowledge, with errors in their original concept. Learning by trying leads to success. Learning by filling in answers, getting the B or C, and moving on, leads to regression.

I've heard more than once recently that it's called curriculum/pacing GUIDE for a reason. It's supposed to be a guide, not a rule book set in stone. I use the curriculum as a guide, but if my kids need something different than I'm going to teach what they need. Type your lessons plans one way if you must, then close the door and teach your kids what they need to be successful. There is no way you can expect a child to find the direct object of a prepositional phrase if they can't even tell you what a noun is.

We make our own pacing guides based on state standards, then adjust as needed. We do have a textbook, but we just use it as a resource.

Curriculum is the standards of learning you are to teach. The texts, workbooks, videos and activities you use should be aligned to and support the the curriculum. They ARE NOT THE CURRICULUM.

Even when companies SAY their textbook provides a complete curriculum, I’m leery of it. I always find holes in any prepared curriculums. I’ve never seen one that had everything listed in our state standards presented correctly even when it is supposed to be aligned to our state.

I disagree, but I think it's more semantics or a regional or district language choice. Where I teach, state standards are called standards, and the adopted program that the school has paid for is called the curriculum. Additionally, if you search for "reading curriculum " or "math curriculum", you'll get a list of products that are sold and labeled curriculum, rather than a list of Common Core Standards or other standards. So, for the purpose of my post, I was referring to sticking to the district-adopted curriculum/program (which, yes, may have some holes) or supplementing with materials outside the adopted curriculum/program, both with the intention of meeting the state-set learning standards (such as Common Core Standards) for the grade level. It may be different in other states, especially those that sometimes have developed their own state-approved curriculum as some of the larger states have.

We are one of the few states that have never adapted the Common Core. We have standards that do not align with the workbooks we are given. ( Main companies make WB's for TX or CA, or they used to at least.) I use a workbook as a supplement only. I try to hit all of the grade level standards. As a PP mentioned, the pace does not work for a lot of kids here.

I do not like your district's micromanaging anymore than you do. I just wanted to let you know that you have my deepest sympathies.

In my previous school, we had no curriculum, just a pacing guide. It was very disorganized and the kids didn't have much continuity through to the next grade. There was also the challenge of teaching different levels but we we were never told how much more challenging an honors course should be. I really wanted a curriculum last year and I think I spent 7-8 hours each weekend just planning for the one class I taught. Next year, my new district is implementing a high quality curriculum. I'm excited because I really like the curriculum. I'm nervous about whether it will be ok to supplement, modify lessons if I feel like they need to be modified. I'm sure it is ok but they expect us to mainly stick with the curriculum.

I also disagree but think it could be a regional difference. Here the standards are the standards. The curriculum is based on the standards, but the curriculum is not the standards. It’s also not a packaged program available for sale by a commercial company. Here, the curriculum is what the district has decided all teachers much teach at any given grade level and for any course. Again, it’s based on standards, but the district has decided which standards are priority standards, the order they should be taught in, how they are grouped together, the time spent on each one, the resources we will use to teach them, and the philosophy behind how they are taught, as well as how they are integrated with standards in other content areas. It’s what makes the curriculum in my district different from the curriculum in the neighboring district, even though we are all following the same state standards.