My students have been testing the last week or so (for English II and various other classes), so I’ve had quite a lot of time on my hands. After taking down all of the unnecessary and outdated wall-hangings, organizing my files, and taking out the recycling I finally sat down and worked on my curriculum.
I have textbooks, resources, and a handful of random workbooks from which to glean my curriculum. I DO NOT have time to teach the whole literature book. I just don’t. So I have had to find ways to teach the key elements in as little time as possible. Besides literature, I also need to implement more grammar and vocabulary. Part of the 10th grade norm is to write a research paper, which I never seem to have time for. That’s they key here: all of those things take time!
This year, I tried to teach Lord of the Flies to my block class for all of the concepts. Do not do that. The kids don’t get as much grammar, writing instruction, and vocabulary AND they get bored with the book. It’s bad. Unfortunately, I see it’s disadvantage in less-than-satisfactory kids’ test scores. Where normally I might be able to catch those fall-behind kids, I totally didn’t this semester. That’s another blog.
So after beating my head against the literal and proverbial desk, I finally sat down after cleaning and made a true, grammar and vocab filled, concept rich curriculum which I have neatly fit into a block class schedule (just one semester, 1.25 hours a day). I have plenty of writing. I hit all of the key concepts. And I even get to include a research paper AND Julius Caesar!
Ah. The relief! The unadulterated freedom and peace!
It’s ended up being a 6 unit curriculum, with 1-2 added book projects (to be completed outside of class).
Introduction: sentence structure, MLA format, and Main Idea and Details
Unit 1: Plot, Conflict & Character
Unit 2: POV and Genre
Unit 3: Poetry
Unit 4: Non-Fiction
Unit 5: Argument and Persuasion
Unit 6: Julius Caesar
Lord of the Flies and Huckleberry Finn are staple Sophomore English texts, so I’m going to make them required outside-of-school readings with book reports (which is slightly different than my Accelerated English II assignments, which are indepth readings of Secret Life of Bees, Anthem, and Things Fall Apart).
They said by the third year, teaching would become a lot more second-nature. And they weren’t kidding! So excited to finally have a complete curriculum. So much of teaching is trial and error, seeing works and what doesn’t, seeing what kids need to be taught and what they just need to review… It’s safe to say that my job is new EVERY time I enter the classroom. And that’s a-okay with me.
(soon to be MM)