What to Look for in a New Curriculum

This upcoming school year, our school will be looking at adopting a new high school ELA curriculum.  I have a very limited background when it comes to school districts and their adoption or development of curriculums.  I have seen many documents online as I have done my own research for my own, which was based solely on the incorporation of the state standards, researched-based strategies, and strong texts.

I have been through several textbook series and curriculum support presentations in my career, and this summer would be no different.  Before the presentations began, I sat down and made a list of all the features I would want the ideal ELA curriculum to have:

  • Standard-based lessons and activities
  • Reading, Speaking, Listening activities
  • Close Reading
  • A strong writing program
    • Synthesizing information presented into a product
    • “Beyond-the-text” assignments
    • MLA/APA/Citations/Plagiarism support
    • How to do research – online and in libraries
  • Rubrics
  • The text selection would be both rigor-appropriate, but also high interest
  • Technology & multimedia must be incorporated
  • Digital copies of the texts for the students and teachers
  • Differentiated options
  • Support for ELL/ESL students
  • A user-friendly interface
  • Support for teachers (professional development, customer service support)
  • Options for teachers to customize the content/assessments/assignments

Educator Question of the Day: What other features do you look for in a new curriculum?

March Currently & Goals

March Currently

Loving…that the weather is beginning to turn towards Spring, at least in Florida.  My poor family and friends up north are still suffering the Winter Blahs.

Reading…Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage I just finished this book on Saturday; you can read my review here.  I’ve decided to return to The Goldfinch, but only so that I can read another Murakami novel next.

Watching…too many TV shows.  My DVR is full of trashy Bravo shows, but the thought of deleting them makes me sad.  Maybe I really do have an addiction.

Enjoying…Fresh Fruit Crepes from First Watch.

Preparing…my list of goals for the month.  I don’t want a repeat of ambiguous goals that may or may not be moving towards an endpoint.  These will be tangible and measurable, per the S.M.A.R.T. Goal assignment I require of my students.

Learning…about another form of rhetorical analysis for my AP Lang students via Mrs. Anderson at YA Love.

Feeling…grateful for an awesome mom who helped me prepare 14 crock pot/freezer dinners for March.  Each recipe made two freezer bags/crockpots-o-dinner


  • Cream of Celery Pork Tenderloin
  • Aloha Chicken
  • Thai Chicken
  • Applesauce Chicken
  • Salsa Chicken
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Maple Pork

March Goals

  1. Reading: Complete The Goldfinch and begin 1Q84
  2. Financial: No takeout lunch/dinner for the month of March
  3. Wellness: Gym time five days a week
  4. Professionally: Finalize my ESOL endorsement paperwork
  5. House and Home: Vacuum the car


Teacher New Year’s Resolutions 2015

The Pensive Sloth blog offered up the Top 10 Teacher New Year’s Resolutions and I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.  Some are worth working on and others are just completely out of the question; I am a human after all!

Three resolutions I’m likely to attempt:


I have to compliment myself on being fairly punctual with my turnaround time with grading.  What I need to work on is giving more specific feedback on assignments, as opposed to “Good Job!” and “Awkward.”teacher-resolutions-4-lesson-plans

My lesson plans are always in on time, sometimes they are less than specific.  I want to work on creating a solid unit plan as opposed to getting by, week-to-week, by the skin of my teeth.


I am working on implementing more activities that are student-led as opposed to teacher-led.  This is tough for me, but we are all works in progress.  Baby steps are better than heels dug in.

Three resolutions that just ain’t gonna happen!


Let me clarify this one: I am not saying that I don’t find value in PD sessions, but I want to focus on the word “demeaning.”  More often than not, I find wisdom and insight from each PD sessions that we have, but there are also those presenters who come in with some flashy “new gimmick” that insult the intelligence of the teaching staff they are working with.  Just putting a new name on an old strategy doesn’t make it worth my time.

I think all teachers have a love/hate relationship with the copy machine.  We understand one another and accept the relationship.  When it’s bad, it’s horrible; when it’s good, it’s fabulous!

‘Nuff said.