Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Curriculum Develoment through books

This spring I have been in more districts than ever before. It has been a great deal of fun working on developing curriculum for a variety of subject areas from Math ( I think this spring we have the best selection of professional resources for math of any year yet), Science , Social Studies (we have a wide selection of both student and professional books- some really great picture books for use with all ages), ESL/ELL and of course Reading and Writing PK-12.

My teaching certification is in Social Studies and History so, I admit, I am partial to spending time in the stacks reading through the many titles. Candlewick, Tilbury House, and Scholastic's nonfiction series have some great books for students; thought provoking with strong images.

One of the most popular teacher resources for students this year has been the four book series of Leveled Texts for Social Studies available for Early America, Expanding & Preserving the Union, The 20th Century and World Cultures Through Time. The books are aimed at Grades 4-12 and each book contains 15 different articles each written at 4 different levels ranging from grade 1+ to grade 6+. The articles are all printed in the same size type and have the pictures and maps in all the same locations. The one big difference per article is at the bottom of each page there is a square, triangle, circle, or star. These symbols help teachers differentiate instruction for the different levels of readers. The CD in the back of the book makes it easy to print out these articles for your students. The comprehension questions for each reading level at the end of the article are a real bonus.

In a year when having differentiated materials for every student in your classroom is key these articles can really help out. They are not your "full curriculum" but, they will supplement what you are currently using in your classroom and be a good answer to meeting the needs of differentiating your classroom. If your school has funds for RTI these books will easily fall under that category too.

It looks like the rain is here for another day or so I expect will make my way through some more of the new releases. My next blog will be on Burkin's new book, Practical Literacy Coaching: A Collection of Tools to Support Your Work. It looks to be good read for tonight.

New practical book on coaching

Rainy days are good for catching up with the blog and looking at new titles. Practical Literacy Coaching: A Collection of Tools to Support your Work by Burkins just came in from IRA. It is the newest coaching book from the author of Coaching for Balance: How to Meet the Challenges of Literacy Coaching. This is a pretty slim book (it won't weigh down your book bag) and seems to build on Burkin's last book. A less glamorous title for this book would be, "Get the Job Done Well, Don't Burn Out Along the Way, and Don't Reinvent the Wheel in the Process." The print is an easy-to-read size which I like, and the voice flows easily. The book is packed with supportive advice and stories from an active Literacy Coach. The one drawback I see is the multitude of checklists and forms. I would appreciate these on a disc so that the coach doesn't have to retype them!