How Do You Adapt Your Curriculum?

Hi everyone. Are you tired of hearing your admin say, “The reading curriculum is just a tool. Use the material anyway you want.”? Really, REALLY!!

How many of you have heard this phrase? Is it true? I’m not sure. We all change the lessons to meet the needs of our children. But what happens when you have to rewrite the whole damn curriculum? I’m sure many of you have done just that. The schools pay all of this money for a curriculum and we have to spend all of our time to create lessons that actually work.

You might be wondering which reading curriculum I am using. Well, I don’t know if you have heard of the awesome Pearson company (I almost feel like they are the Evil Empire!) In NYC, Pearson seems to have had a monopoly on curriculum for the past three years. Thankfully, Pearson is SLOWLY starting to leave the NYC schools. This was the last year the NYS ELA and Math tests have been created by Pearson.

So we are told to use ReadyGen as a tool. So everyday I rewrite the curriculum and teach the skills or lessons how I want to and in the style that will most benefit my kiddos.

I started to teach each lesson focusing on a 15 minute mini-lesson and then small group work (which is definitely not in the program. :() I incorporate the science or social studies text books or articles on the topics. I added in A LOT of writing because there only seems to be response to literature in ReadyGen’s writing component. Although, there updated curriculum now includes shared writing with more informational writing…the material and expectations are way above grade level.

How else can I make this curriculum just a tool? I started to make interactive notebooks for the books that we have to use in our lessons. The only part of ReadyGen that is ok are SOME of the trade books used.

Last week we read A Chair for My Mother. I absolutely love this book, but if you follow the curriculum it is boring and basically kills any enjoyment of this wonderful book. So I introduced the interactive notebook for A Chair For My Mother and my kids loved it.

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Then I had my kids design their own comfortable chair. Just take a look at some of the chairs that my kiddos created! 🙂

chair10

chair8

chair7

chair3

chair2

chair1

Besides designing and building a comfortable chair to go along with the story, “A Chair for My Mother” students also had to write about how they created their chair and why they decided to create that chair.

chair6

chair5

My students had so much fun with the interactive notebook, designing their comfortable chairs and their writing assignment.

My students loved using the interactive notebooks so much that I started to create them for the different trade books that we use as part of the 2nd grade ReadyGen curriculum. You can check them out by clicking here.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my rant. 🙂
How do you use your curriculum as just a tool?

Rachel

Your Curriculum is Just A Tool!!!

Hi everyone. Are you tired of hearing your admin say, “The reading curriculum is just a tool. Use the material anyway you want.”? Really, REALLY!!

How many of you have heard this phrase? Is it true? I’m not sure. We all change the lessons to meet the needs of our children. But what happens when you have to rewrite the whole damn curriculum? I’m sure many of you have done just that. The schools pay all of this money for a curriculum and we have to spend all of our time to create lessons that actually work.

You might be wondering which reading curriculum I am using. Well, I don’t know if you have heard of the awesome Pearson company (I almost feel like they are the Evil Empire!) In NYC, Pearson seems to be in charge of almost all of the curriculum, assessments, and State Exams.

So we are told to use ReadyGen as a tool. So everyday I rewrite the curriculum and teach the skills or lessons how I want to and in the style that will most benefit my kiddos.

I started to teach each lesson focusing on a 15 minute mini-lesson and then small group work (which is definitely not in the program. :() I incorporate the science or social studies text books or articles on the topics. I added in A LOT of writing because there only seems to be response to literature in ReadyGen’s writing component.

How else can I make this curriculum just a tool? I started to make interactive notebooks for the books that we have to use in our lessons. The only part of ReadyGen that is ok are SOME of the trade books used.

Last week we read A Chair for My Mother. I absolutely love this book, but if you follow the curriculum it is boring and basically kills any enjoyment of this wonderful book. So I introduced the interactive notebook for A Chair For My Mother and my kids loved it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.11.17 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.11.30 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.11.41 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.12.06 PM

Then I had my kids design their own comfortable chair. Just take a look at some of the chairs that my kiddos created! 🙂

chair10

chair8

chair7

chair3

chair2

chair1

Besides designing and building a comfortable chair to go along with the story, “A Chair for My Mother” students also had to write about how they created their chair and why they decided to create that chair.

chair6

chair5

My students had so much fun with the interactive notebook, designing their comfortable chairs and their writing assignment.

My students loved using the interactive notebooks so much that I started to create them for the different trade books that we use as part of the 2nd grade ReadyGen curriculum. You can check them out by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.06.13 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.10.32 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.08.45 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.12.10 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.11.17 PM

Thanks for stopping by and reading my rant. 🙂
How do you use your curriculum as just a tool?

Rachel

Two For Tuesday

TTT Summer Bloggin-73

Hi everyone. I am linking up with The Teaching Tribune for Two For Tuesday.

Don’t you just love interactive notebooks? I only started using them with my kids towards the end of last school year. Wow! I could not believe how excited my students became whenever we worked on the interactive notebooks.
I am using Pearson’s ReadyGen for reading. You can read my thoughts on the program here.

The first book we work on in September is Charlotte’s Web. I had to think of a way to make it more engaging. Most of my kids had difficulty keeping up with the book last year. So I just finished an interactive notebook on Charlotte’s Web. I can not wait to use it! There are 22 interactive activities that are aligned to the 2nd grade Common Core Standards.

It is half price…only for today!
Slide1

The next product on sale for 50% off is my multiplication craftivity/scoot bundle.
April Showers Bring May Flowers is a bundle that includes a product flower craftivity, interactive notebook activity, interactive notebook flower pages and a multiplication/division scoot game.

Slide2

I hope everyone is having a restful, relaxing summer!
Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Click below to go back to The Teaching Tribune to see some more 50% off deals.

TTT Summer Bloggin-73

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Should ReadyGen Stay?

Should ReadyGen stay or should it go?

We started using Readygen in September, well really in the end of October. Let’s just say, it was a rocky beginning! We did not receive any material until mid October. The material we did receive were photocopied and binded together.

Pros:
The modules, or units do get better as the year progresses. I do like the literature or books that the students read, so that is a plus.
Group work is given, along with oral reading for small group. Later on in the modules, the standards are written out for you (in the beginning, I had to look up each standard.) Students enjoy the Sleuth book and it helps to strengthen their critical thinking skills. It
promotes opinions and giving supporting reasons from the text.

Cons:
There is WAY TOO much going on in one lesson. I tend to break up each lesson into two or sometimes 3 days.
The lessons jump around a lot. You work on one skill or standard, then something different, and back to the first skill. The program assumes the students already know the skills (at least in 2nd grade and higher.) There is no explicit teaching of a skill. Next year my
school is implementing a skills day each week.

The writing program is one of the worst writing programs I have ever seen. There are no real writing lessons. Its basically response to literature. The end task or performance assessment is not challenging
and we tend to change them or tell the students that a few sentences or a paragraph is not enough.

**Revised** The program is being somewhat revised. The beginning 2 units will now have the standards for each lesson and modeled or shared writing is being added. It is already in the later units, but now will be in the first 3 units as well.

Should ReadyGen stay or go????
In my opinion….GO, GO, GO!!!
Unfortunately I, nor my colleagues do not like the program. Kindergarten seems to think the program is ok but 1 – 5 in my school and other teachers that I have spoken to, do not care
for the program. Hopefully, Pearson will revamp the program over the
summer.

Here is an example of one of my ReadyGen lessons.
ReadyGen Lesson

Check out my store for other 2nd grade ReadyGen lessons.

Teachers pay Teachers Store

You can also check out the ReadyGen Phonics Lessons by clicking the link below.
ReadyGen Phonics Lessons

Thanks for stopping by,
Rachel