Friday, August 10, 2012

Curriculum and Theme Integration Rant...

     UGGHHH! Could someone please send A little LOT of pixie dust my way? Pretty please! I have some ranting to do, so you might want to sit down and grab a glass of cup of coffee. Let us start off with some curriculum. Curriculum IS NOT a textbook. What? Did I hear a gasp? Well, hang on to your big girl (or boy) panties for my next statement. THROW your textbooks away! Well, not literally or you might owe your disctrict some money, but at least hide them in your closet on the top shelf. You will do yourself and your students a HUGE favor!
     Curriculum is not a textbook. Yes, I am going to repeat my self until everyone hears me. Standards should drive instruction, not textbooks. Textbooks are to be used as a resource, but do not limit yourself. There are so many resources available to us. If you are using a science textbook, I am betting it is already out of date. And with all of the amazing children's literature out there, why on earth would you want to read the same stories over and over again in your basal reading textbook? Remember, if you are not having fun, they are definitely not having fun.  And math...for the benefit of our economy's future, let's teach them skills they will apply in the real world. Teach about the stock market. An awesome resource, along with some healthy competition for learning the ins and out of trading is: Why not let them open a store? Sell school supplies, student made projects, candy... Let them develop a business plan, marketing, and open a store. My final not let the textbook teach your students. You teach your students! If you are not familiar enough with your content, use textbooks only as a resource while you educate yourself (yes, the internet is our friend). We, as educators, should be keeping up with current strategies, trends, and constantly continuing our education.
     Theme it difficult? If you have ever taught kindergarten, then no. That is how we teach! For others, I don't think it should be difficult, but it seems to be. Each of our nine weeks have a school theme based on science standards because we are a science focused STEM school. Our first unit is "Mystery Madness". In kindergarten we always start out with the nature of science and senses. Last year it was really segmented and not very much fun. We taught the senses, sense by sense, with little mysteries along the way, but we weren't excited about it. So do you think they were very excited about it? Probably not. This year, I came up with "Mysteries of the Wild"...teaching the nature of science and the senses as wildlife biologists. I have ordered safari hats, binoculars, a wildlife camera, and more. We are so excited about this unit! We have picked all of our literature and math based on wildlife. It is going to be so much fun! Theme integration (with a science background) is not reading a science reader during small group. How do you help someone to write a theme integrated unit that doesn't get it? Ughhh...frustrated.
Okay, I will wrap it up for today, but more I am sure will follow soon. :) Forgive me for any grammatical errors. I type fast and furious when agitated.


  1. Our district was asked to shy away from the basal readers, only using them for resources. I agtree with you in that hands on is more engaging and therefore memorable than simply reading from a basal or text book.
    Where Seconds Count

  2. I'm typing and avoiding writing lesson plans for this VERY reason! I've taught reading for 9yrs and I rarely use my basal. Ya know, I'll pull a good story here & there, but my kids are normally shocked when I say, "pull out your textbook". This year, however, my campus wants us to "implement Treasures Reading with fidelity" (cannot tell you how sick I am of hearing this statement). It does not at all follow our scope & sequence, so I am at a total loss for planning/prep. To top it all off, we're doing a big Social Studies push this year. I understand that and I agree that it normally gets pushed to the wayside. However, I believe of all the subjects this is where I should get to do craftivities and fun projects. NOPE. I was told Friday that our Principal expects us to read directly out of the textbook to gain non-fiction text exposure! YUCK. We did this on Friday with worksheets and I about fell asleep! Onto lesson plans!