Thursday, January 17, 2013

Adopting or Adapting CCSS Curriculum

As more and more "exemplar" curriculum is posted on state websites, we have to scrutinize whether all these "lessons" align with our best practice teaching skills. Let's face it: All best practice, is not really "good." However, many best practices that we embrace should serve as a litmus test to judge whether you want to ADOPT exemplar curriculum hook, line, and sinker.  Or, they can serve as a benchmark to decide whether you want to ADAPT that material for your use and embed some of your best practices. 

That is what I recommend with the NYS Exemplars that are being unveiled on the website. Most of these modules are very good, but were created with every single book defined, even the "10" that should be used for "research."   Many schools do not have money to purchase the "research" books.  Therefore, adapt the modules and substitute your library's books. However correctly those defined books' Lexiles may be in a plan,  they should not be substituted for a research activity where students get to wonder,  explore, investigate, synthesize and create knowledge products.  

Most best library practices, do not define specific books for "research."   Therefore, if your teachers substitute a trip to your library, rather than using the defined, pre-chosen, correctly Lexiled books, they will be more likely to learn real research skills.  

 We librarians know that when students are given the opportunity to investigate, they will most likely read above the Lexile, below the Lexile, and more than originally intended.  

It is in the adaption of the modules, that educators  NEED to understand the shifts intimately.    Educators need to know how to embrace complex text, vocabulary focus, and more…to insure they are meeting the same goals when the modules are ‘adapted.’  

Tools such as the Empire State IFC are valuable as we adapt the modules or as teachers adapt their local lessons (“repackage”) for CCSS alignment.  It’s supposed to be more than repackaging, but in reality, that’s what is being done.  It is supposed to be re-designing lessons into deeper learning experiences. 

I’ll be doing another webinar for AASL in either February or March on Complex Text for the Librarian – It is in understanding complexity and the shifts that we can justify how the modules can be adapted with library integration – because… the modules in their current state do NOT send kids to the library.  

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