Your Curriculum is Just A Tool!!!

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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.

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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! 🙂

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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.

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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

2 thoughts on “Your Curriculum is Just A Tool!!!

  1. ReadyGEN has to be the most poorly written curriculum to teach kindergarten and first graders how to read and write. It assumes the little ones come in with a wealth of basic skills. The text are way over the k and 1 students level and make for good read aloud sir shared reading. What I do like is it is aligned to the new Social Studies and Science standard.
    We wrote six units of study, rearranging the ResdyGEN units because we’d rather teach plants in the spring rather than the dead of winter as Pearson suggests. We wrote 6 performance tasks for each one – 2 narrative, 2 informational, 2 opinion using some suggestions from the 12 ReadyGEN requires. (Really?!? When do they expect them to learn how to write if they have a performance assessment every 3 weeks?)
    We use ReadyGEN for our shared/ close reading. We use the well written high DOK comprehension questions from the teacher’s guide and leave the rest. The remainder of the day is Balanced Literacy in an integrated unit. Takes forever to plan but the children are learning how to read and write so it is worth it. I used to post questions on Teachability but they were never answered or moderators removed them.

    • I agree with you about ReadyGen being poorly written. I was already informed that Pearson is revamping the curriculum AGAIN! Maybe it will get better. If you teach the way the program is written, the students will never learn to read and will end up hating to read.

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