There are so many resources out there for teaching. Every time I turn around there is another resource being handed to me from other teachers, at a PD, or from Administrators. I use Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Lessons and Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study almost daily. They have made me a better teacher and have helped me understand the capabilities of learners.
However, I count myself as one of the lucky ones that what I am being handed is a RESOURCE, not a script.
Resources are just that, “a RESOURCE” which is “As teachers we are not teaching if we are using any materials as a script or a program that must be taught verbatim. I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER met two students that are the same (and that goes for siblings and even twins). Therefore a program or script would never be appropriate for all students all years. Even a RESOURCE is not something that can be used with all students all years.
A RESOURCE is a place to start. It may even drive lots of your instructional decisions. Parts of the script, if provided, may even be useful. As a trained educator you need to know how to make that RESOURCE useful to your students in your classroom.
My RESOURCE Tips:
1. Pick and choose what you use from your RESOURCE. Allow this to change year to year, student to student.
-Don’t teach something all your students are solid on because it is in your RESOURCE.
-Add the things your students need before they can learn the skill your resource says they need to be learning (Hint: You might need another RESOURCE).
2. Change things in your RESOURCE if they are not appropriate. (Hint: Kindergarten students should not sit for 45 minutes and do 3-5 worksheets per math lesson.)
3. Add YOU to your RESOURCE. Make the resource more engaging, fun, and relevant to your students.
4. Make BIG change decisions with your team to keep consistency (Especially when using resources your Administrators have laid out for the whole school). Adding more practice stretching words for spelling is probably fine, failing to use the common vocabulary is probably not.
5. When you aren’t able to use anything in it (or very little), start looking for a new RESOURCE. If this is one of those resources from an administrator be clear in your reasons and get support from other colleagues.
Enjoy your RESOURCES this year and use them to guide your teaching!