Am I a geek or a nerd?

Its not rocket science.
April 20, 2010, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was just perusing the latest ASCD Smartbrief (lately a rare thing–the perusing, not getting it in my email) and this article immediately caught my eye. The Providence Journal wrote a story about teachers creating ‘guaranteed and viable curriculum’ that was based on what kids needed to learn and not on textbooks. That this is news worthy says something about what goes on in many classrooms.

The MC3 social studies curriculum project follows the exact protocol outlined in the article, the idea that we all need to be on the same page in terms of the what we teach and while it provides some ‘how’ it really is up to the individual teacher to implement the ‘what’ in a way that works for the students. I’ve done plenty of PD on our project and one of number one complaints I get from teachers is that the curriculum doesn’t follow the textbook.

What should I do with my textbook?

I can’t teach without my textbook!

What book should we buy that matches this?


Seriously. You would think that the book has some mystical power over people that forced them to use the chapters in the precise order the publisher put them in (never mind that the publisher was writing for Texas standards…). And then, when we include instructional strategies to guide the implementation of the curriculum, many start to use it the same way they used the textbook–in order, verbatim, without regard for student ability/understanding or class time. We included the lessons and supplementals to ASSIST teachers, not script the classroom.

We certainly have amazing and creative teachers too. But just yesterday one of these fabulous people said to me that she realized she hadn’t been really addressing the required content. She had created projects and lessons and student games but felt she had missed the boat on really moving students forward in a K-12 system.   That’s truly what the guaranteed and viable curriculum is about. Not only must you address your students where they are with the skills they have (and not just doing the next chapter in the book…) you must also consider what students need to know when its done. Each grade fits into the puzzle; second grade needs to know what happens in sixth grade so that kids can be prepared and 11th grade needs to know what happened in 8th so that content can be connected to what students already know. Using you book to guide you will never get you there!!


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