Should I “adopt”?
The curriculum modules are designed to provide a year’s worth of instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, with each module lasting approximately one quarter. Each module includes authentic texts, mid and end of unit assessments, end of module performance tasks, and a comprehensive set of daily lesson plans with student materials, targeted vocabulary, and detailed information for the opening, work time, and closing portions of the lesson. Much like a textbook series, a heavy amount of scaffolding is present for teachers who like this feature. Although there is some room for adjusting time frames and activities, if you choose to adopt the modules you should find most of what you will need to include in daily lessons already provided for you.
Should I “adapt”?
For teachers who like the freedom to craft their own lessons and materials but would like a guide for meeting the demands of Common Core, a viable alternative might be to adapt the modules. Perhaps you have a powerful novel for teaching characterization that you want to substitute for a title in one of the modules. You can do this. One way to be successful with this is to look at the overall framework of each module, including the standards addressed and assessed, the assessments and performance tasks included, and the types of text-based questions included throughout the lessons and then design your own materials along this same framework. Teachers have the luxury of adapting the modules as much or as little as will meet their needs.
Should I “align”?
If teaching from the modules either directly or indirectly is not your preference, you always have the option to align your instruction to Common Core using your own materials and experiences. When aligning your lessons and units to Common Core, the most critical aspects to keep in mind are teaching to the standards themselves and incorporating the Six Shifts into your daily instruction. Giving students opportunities to explore rigorous texts, encouraging them to respond critically to texts by marshaling evidence, and writing analytically to inform and to argue will all prepare students to meet the demands of Common Core.
Ultimately the use of curriculum modules is a decision left to each local school district, but being informed about what the modules are and are not is the first step in deciding. CA BOCES staff specialists are always available to help answer questions and overview module materials as they arise.
by Amy Windus, CABOCES and Pioneer Central School