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Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Confession to Kinderchat

I am joining the Kinderchat crew this summer for their blogging challenge. The first challenge is simply entitled 'confess'. I have thought about this for a few days and had a difficult time choosing my confession to share with such a wonderful group of educators. I decided on something that has been in my thoughts for several years, although I haven't really said it out loud to many people. My confession; I hate boxed curriculums.

First, I did use the word hate, and I do not use it often. Second, I am a kindergarten teacher and understand that my experiences with curriculum have only been at this one level. Having said that, I feel I can continue.

I spent the first eight years of my teaching career with boxed curriculums. What I discovered was that I focused too much on the curriculum and not enough of the learner. I focused on what I would teach each day rather than who I would be working with each day. I planned my week in advance, not taking into account the learners preferences, likes/dislikes, or level of comprehension of a subject. The curriculum scripted how a child should look at a problem or activity, providing specific directions on what to do and how to do it. In those years, the learners all did well, picking up on skills they needed to master. But they did not LOVE a topic. They did not feel passionate about the activities. They did not find an area that they would want to explore outside of school.

This is where inquiry based learning has come into play. I have slowly been restructuring the classroom to an open environment of exploration and curiosity. A place where a child can relate to a subject or topic how they see fit, or even choose the topic on their own. This has been a long process, taking years of adapting and learning, but it has been an amazing transformation.

Thanks, Kinderchat, for letting my confess. I know some folks do not appreciate my feelings on this subject, but I cannot ignore the differences I have seen in the classroom. I cannot wait to see what happens this year!  


gail said...

I'm with you Randi. As soon as we start following the dialogue box, we're in trouble. It takes away the conversation and the living learning. Don't get me wrong. Some teachers thrive on boxed curricula. How dull it seems to me. Our math program is boxed and it is my least favorite subject to teach now. Without the box, I would love teaching math.
I look forward to reading and sharing more with you during the blogging challenge.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess I have never been very good at staying on task with a boxed curriculum and have always felt guilty about that. I realize now that the "lived curriculum" in my classroom is responsive to the needs and interests of my students. Engagement is key in learning and how is this achieved? Surely not through a boxed curriculum. Here's hoping that this century will bring the needed transformation to our education systems. It seems as though you are transforming your classroom into a place of wonder for your students. The choices that you offer to your students must surely provide opportunities for engagement.
I look forward to reading more of your posts this summer!

Kinderchat said...

I love this confession and would love for you to tell us more about this all too not talked about subject! I love the way you said "but they didn't love the subject" and that you were prepping for the curriculum vs the learner- great points and an important reflection!

Thanks for sharing w us!

Kimarie Tacke said...

Such excellent points about curriculum! I am so relieved by your confession, because it tells me there are still people out there who believe in following learners rather than following curriculum! We are given so little room anymore for inquiry! It takes time and effort to stay child-centered! Good for you!!

Mrs. Phillips said...

Hi! I've nominated you for the Liebster Award! Please visit my blog to claim it.