Is your school scripted?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by montanadreaming, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. montanadreaming

    montanadreaming Rookie

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    A local school is making its teachers all follow a script to teach. For example in 4th grade every 4th grade teacher should in Sept read Old Yeller. During the time that they are reading this book, every
    4th grade teacher will teach the same lesson on the same day. These lessons will be the exact same lesson in each classroom because the teachers will have a script to follow.
    Is this really the way that education is going? I have taught various grade levels and subjects in the past 22 yrs. I know how to write lesson plans and how to use/follow the teacher edition. Is this a new practice or have I just always been lucky to be where I could actually teach and not just read a script?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's not the way we're going. :(
     
  4. tired.mom

    tired.mom Companion

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    I think a lot of school districts, mine included, are going the route of canned curriculum that everyone follows--or should follow. We don't have to follow a script, but there is a definite sequence we are expected to follow and lessons which are highly suggested.
     
  5. alioxenfree

    alioxenfree Rookie

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    This is not a new practice, but I do think that it's becoming more prevalent.

    I have friends who worked in schools that had a reading curriculum like. They left because of it, along with other reasons. All of the teachers in the grade level have to be on the same page at the same time each day. They are required to read from a script and cannot deviate from the script. They cannot allow students to make comments or ask questions unless it's at a predetermined point as dictated by the script. They were at these schools 5 years ago and the schools still follow that curriculum. Some people dub scripted programs "teacherproof". It's so insulting!
     
  6. montanadreaming

    montanadreaming Rookie

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    That is exactly what they will be doing. Only it is across the curriculum - science, literature, history, you name it EVERYTHING is scripted.
     
  7. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I see this less often at the high school level... thankfully. Were I forced to do that, I honestly think I would resign. That's not teaching... bleh.
     
  8. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Yes, I have heard of it. I have friends that teach elementary and they complain about the script. Some of them have been doing this type of teaching for 3-4 years. Sounds so boring.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    No, thankfully mine is not. However, I did several practicums at schools where they followed scripted programs. I HATE them. The worst was this program for inner city/low performing schools called "America's Choice." It was designed for schools where the majority of students were two grade levels behind. It literally scripted out every word the teacher was supposed to say. If someone handed me that in my classroom, I would be incredibly insulted. It literally had stuff like this on there: "Have the students sit criss-cross applesauce (legs crossed) on the floor in a half circle around you. Make sure that each student can see you from their spot. Watch to make sure that students are listening during the reading..." I mean really??? It then scripted out every question you should ask and every little thing you should say. Even in the current job market, I said last year that if someone offered me a job and I found out they were using this program, I would automatically decline.

    I agree that it's just not teaching. My friend's school just started doing a scripted program called Reading Street and they all hate it...they call it "nightmare on reading street" haha. It's so boring, the kids don't like it, the teacher doesn't like it, and you can't differentiate to meet the needs of the students. You have to do what page 105 says because that's Tuesday's lesson instead of the lesson you created based on your students' needs.

    In special ed, I get a lot of pressure to use scripted intervention programs (from the district, my individual school doesn't believe in them). It's very frustrating. People don't understand that you can do "research based" interventions without using a commercial, scripted program. I had to use some scripted programs to get kids qualified this year, and I hated it. For my kids already on IEP's, I could instruct as I wanted since I didn't have to prove what "program" I was using. My kids that I simply taught grew by leaps and bounds...those on scripted programs for the most part did not. I had 4 third graders. 3 already identified and 1 not, so I had to use a scripted program to prove my RtI data was valid for the one who wasn't. The 3 students that were already on IEP's that I just taught all grew at least 2 years (one actually grew just shy of 3) in this one single school year. My student on the scripted program grew half a year. We basically just wasted a whole year with him- its SO frustrating!

    The programs are not engaging, they try to be one-size-fits all, and they put no faith in the teacher's ability. Unfortunately, I do think this is the way education is going, especially as schools are fighting harder and harder to raise test scores. I was reading this article about how Finland is supposedly one of the best education countries in the world. One of the main things they mentioned about thier program was that they let the teachers teach and did not bog them down with scripted programs. They mentioned that "curriculum guides" were generally less than 10 pages for the entire school year. Now why doesn't anyone in the US pay attention to data like that?
     
  10. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    :dizzy::dizzy: I wouldn't last a day in that type of environment. Why does one need a degree, certificate, or any type of education at all if they are just repeating somebody else's words & plans?

    My former school had 'Comprehension Toolkit' that was scripted. It told me when to pause in order to allow student input. Absolutely insulting. I certainly added my own input, examples, maps etc. because it was too boring for me and the kids. And I think more examples were needed, as the script wasn't well written. I was allowed to do that (before someone comes in and try to criticize me for that). Anyway, I felt like I was going brain dead.

    Like someone said, following a script is not teaching.
     
  11. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    That's just crazy.

    What do you do if, for some reason, the kids just aren't getting it and you would like to take another day to really make sure they understand? What happens to the kids who aren't understanding the material? Is it a too bad, so sad situation?
     
  12. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    waterfall,

    Oh Reading Street!! That's the only Reading program that I know. I had to use it for student teaching, subbing, and actual teaching. Yep, it's scripted and tells you what to do each day and how to open the lesson, close it, everything.

    I only have time to add a few extra examples and personal story telling here and there to make it more exciting, but you can't add much because you absolutely cannot get behind on the script. What they script for Monday is what you better be teaching on Monday and so on. The test (that comes with the program--and is not written by you) will always be on that Friday, no exceptions.

    We couldn't use trade books or anything. I've never seen it. When I entered the field my dream was to use trade books for my class and create units based on those books. I know we do need the 'short stories' as well, but we are never allowed to do anything grade wise using any of the tens of thousands of trade books out there.
    So sad :(
     
  13. TheBagLady

    TheBagLady Rookie

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    My last school was like this with their reading program. The teachers were expected to be on the same story, same place on the same day. There is some room for additions, I think. There was pressure by some to use these materials in special ed., even though I did not have any leveled materials at the time (or training) to use with my 7-8 graders (many of whom read at below a 3rd grade level!) so it's just out of place and not good for the students' individual learning needs. I would rather use some high interest, low level short stories or work on basic reading skills that they need...
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    :( This trend makes me SO sad. Just another way to demoralize teachers and ensure students HATE learning!

    At the school I student taught in, the curriculum was not scripted in the literal sense - ie "Say this:______" "Have students sit here" etc. However, the teachers did have to use the curriculum and NOTHING else. In Language Arts, they had to get rid of literature circles because those books were not part of the Language Arts curriculum. They could only use the anthology. There was a little more freedom than fully scripted programs like what waterfall mentioned, but it was still pretty strict. :( The school has a high percentage of ELs and low-income students, and they're in year one of Program Improvement. My CT kept saying things like "Last year, we were able to do this...." It was just so disheartening. :(
     
  15. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Our district/school is not that extreme yet, but that is the way they are learning. I don't know if they plan on going that far, but it is getting closer. It is the main reason I am so unhappy and working to get out of education. If our school/district was still running the way it was when I started I probably would not be looking to leave, but that is not in my control.
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    webmistress- My friend who was using reading street was doing a long term sub in 1st grade. On one of her first days, the principal walked in to see how it was going and asked the kids if they were ready for reading. They all yelled, "No!!!" How incredibly sad is that- 1st graders who are already against reading!
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If not for this forum, I never would have heard of this. I can't begin to imagine having to "teach" this way; I really wouldn't have to know much, would I? In my school board, which is one of the largest in the province, I haven't heard of packaged curriculum being used either. We have text books, but have the option of how, and even if, we use them.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I would hate it. I don't even use the same words from one period to the next, even if I'm teaching the same material. My notes tend to be kid-generated. I do a few examples with them, explaining as I go, then ask the kids to come up with the "PROCESS." So while the information is the same, the examples and the notes are not.

    That said, I did some freelance writing for a textbook publisher a few years ago, and had to come up with those scripts. How utterly ridiculous.
     
  19. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Yup, it is a direction I see my district going. We adopted a new math curriculum and we were told we could only teach and say what is in the book. We were not allowed to supplement or do anything the book didn't say. They have become more flexible in this but it is a direction I see many schools headed.
    I don't care for it at all, this is not the reason I became a teacher - to read out of a book.
     
  20. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    We have a developed scope & sequence, but still flexible about the specific lessons to get there. A friend of mine has district written lesson plans along with the exact times each subject/lesson should be taught and they are written up if they are teaching a different subject or lesson than what the district said they should. They are also expected to read the TE verbatim for many subjects/lessons. I don't think I could do that and feel like a good teacher at the end of the day, why did I go to school to be a computer and read information back :(
     
  21. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    We are also riding this wave of standardized curriculum. "Fidelity" to the materials is the buzz word we hear every day. I teach gifted, and I'm still being pressured to use the curriculum (even though it's what reg. ed is using). Our teachers (for the most part) hate it. Especially since there's hardly any grammar or vocab in it. :(
     
  22. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    My school is beginning to lean this way. I have looked at some of the material that is being written by the lead teachers in each grade level and I am not sure if I am going to enjoy teaching this way. I taught history last year and even though it was the same lesson to several different classes it was student generated notes. I did not become a teacher to read verbatim some textbook.

    I also second the lack of differentiation. Last year one of my classes had everything from gifted to special ed. how am I going to show that I am reaching all of my students with a scripted curiculum.
     
  23. alschoolteacher

    alschoolteacher Companion

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    Reading Street is great when used unscripted. My school uses reading street, but I use all the materials as I see fit. If the kids aren't getting the grammar lesson, we keep working on it the next week with materials I pull in. The program has tons of resources and materials. My principal did encourage us to try all of the resources that came with the program before deciding to supplement. My kids love reading time and I have lots of time to pull small groups. We also end the year with a month long literature circle unit and book report that the kids love. Of course, we are a private school, so I do not have to do all of the standardized testing that public schools waste time on.
     
  24. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    We have a lot of school districts in our area and each is different, but more and more are going to canned curriculum. Two school supply stores have gone out of business and their owners told me it is because teachers aren't buying books, resource books and materials anymore because they aren't allowed to use them. The trend to have children only read short stories, etc. instead of whole books is also horrifying to me.
     
  25. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I visited a school that was heavily scripted in reading. My school was considering the same program. It was awful. I don't want to sensationalize, but it really reminded me of videos of brainwashing. The teachers barely even looked up from the script. The kids HATED it. We had a couple mutual subs that refused to go back there, because the kids were horrible with subs (they were bad with regular teachers, but with subs...oy).
     
  26. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I have only heard of that happening from posters on these forums. I do not know of any school in my area that requires that. Thank God!
     
  27. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I used to teach using America's Choice. It is soooo much more than a "scripted" curriculum. In fact, most of it's theories have nothing to do with a script. Yes, there are some genre studies that are required, and they do come with a script, but, at least at my school, we were allowed to modify to meet the needs of our students. The scripts were helpful to some fellow first year teachers I worked with as a jumping off point to know exactly how in depth they needed to go with their lessons.
     
  28. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    We have to use the curriculum that the district provides, but we are not required to read the ridiculous scripts that they come with. We have to teach the lessons that the books provide, but we can do it our way. For example the book's lesson is on proportions, but their examples and/or explanations are not great so I can teach it my way. If that makes sense. Its not great, but it's what we do. Could be worse.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree that while it's not new it is becoming more prevelant. Thanfully I don't work off a script. I'm a pretty good little actress when I did to be, but I had no interest in theatre as a career.
     
  30. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    I would leave any school that required that. I didn't go to University for 6 years (M.S. included ;)) to read a script that most anyone off the street could accomplish. As others have said, my teaching changes from period to period. I teach the same core information, but my anecdotes and even lab exercises may be different depending on the class and their personality. This type of micromanaging is ridiculous and insulting.
     
  31. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    This doesn't surprise me. Our summer school programs are 100% scripted. I could see our district turning to this during the school year though.
     
  32. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Exactly. Two more years of suffering and then I walk. Knowing that helps keep me motivated.
     
  33. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    The Department of Education in the province I live in has outlined specific learning outcomes in all subject areas and all grades. However, I can cover them any way I choose. Sometimes schools purchase text books to use, but it's the teacher's choice to use the text book or not. We have a lot of freedom.
     
  34. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    We have a scripted reading curriculum for struggling readers, but we are not required to follow it word for word. All other curriculum is non-scripted.
     
  35. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    What's sad is I've heard of a lot of schools that fall below par test score-wise adopting these strategies. Those kids, if they are already struggling need something interesting to keep them learning, teachers reading from scripts won't reach them.

    We use Reading Street, but I am very lucky that my admin gives me much latitude with what I use. I supplement a lot! I was a little embarassed our P was actually helping to collect textbooks this year and I only had 1 copy of their level 5 student edition-we found out they never gave me the others. My P was like "you didn't even notice?". Uh...oops.:whistle: I just can't see sitting down with a whole class on different levels and reading chorally a whole story where some are reading ahead and some can't keep up. It doesn't make sense to me at all.
     
  36. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    We too have a developed scope and sequence (VA and TX are very similar) but it is a suggested not required resource.

    No way could I teach in a scripted district. As someone else stated, I don't even use the same words in each class. I've had a couple of lessons bomb in one class and be great in others. We have to be flexible. There are things I do with my more advanced students that I don't do with the rest of my kids. Even within a class, I do things differently as needed. I had a class once that for some reason had mostly kids who really "unique". I had to do things very differently in that class. They were bright kids, but did not do well in groups, didn't like lecture, loved doing worksheets! I still did groups but not as much as in other classes, did more (challenging) worksheet work, and limited or shortened presentations. It worked for them. Scripts? These kids would have been off the wall!
     
  37. MsMongoose

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    "Scripted" lessons are bad for adult teachers who are getting paid. Think what they must be like for the students.
     
  38. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    We started with the comprehension toolkit this year- we did a book study group and we were all very impressed with it. We did not use it as a script rather we used the general gist of it and gave it our own spin. So we took the basic idea and ran with it. We had teachers from every grade k-6 using it and reporting back on how they did and how the kids did with work samples and all. The toolkit has the general outline schedule listed in the back of each chapter, which was probably the most useful aspect. The script, we never used- we did get some good laughs out of it though.
     
  39. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    They don't - they also don't need PD, a professional salary, or a planning time. It really takes something that should be a professional occupation and turns it into a minimum wage job.
     
  40. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Our district uses scripted curriculum, and we do follow the lessons. However, we are not held to "reading the script". We are to prepare for the lesson ahead of time, and put our own creativity into the lesson. In our case, the scripted curriculum and pacing guides were implemented because so many teachers were not moving along at a decent pace, and working to try to cover standards.
    We use Reading Street, and as I said earlier, we are not held to reading the script. My class enjoyed the stories, and the routine of the curriculum. I put in my own "spice" to make it as exciting as I could. In all fairness, we do have our own writing curriculum, so we do not follow RS. We use the trade books that go with the series.
    I do not necessarily like scripted curriculums. I suppose I am used to them though-we have been using scripted curriculum for math for 10+ years. (Saxon, then Everyday Math). With more and more talk of accountability, I don't see these types of curriculums going away.
     
  41. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Each teaching team designs our lessons collectively and teaches the same material at the same time. This means we can collaborate on our live teaching sessions, which I love (I'm not a Beowulf expert so someone else teaches that while I handle Canterbury Tales). This also means that if, for some reason, a student needs to move from one class to another, all we have to do is move the points earned from one gradebook to another.
     

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