Our District bought me a very thoughtful gift this summer - a boxed writing curriculum written by the one and only Lucy Calkins! Actually it was written by two women named Kate and Katy, but they wrote it with Lucy's blessing. I was asked to pilot their writing program this year, and I agreed because I am a good do bee.
I wanted so badly not to like it. I am a creator of curriculum! Lesson planning is one of the few areas of my life where I get to truly create something new and exciting, and I resented being handed a boxed module and told, "Here zombie teacher -- do this." Today we started off with the first lesson, and I'll admit, it's pretty good. Kate and Katy know their stuff. I especially like how they take kids step by step through the process of discovering the themes in a story. It's also helping me to push myself as a teacher, and I do love a good push.
Here's the trouble though. Because I am piloting this thing, I am supposed to do the program with complete fidelity, and I'm just not a fidelitous kind of gal. I like to tweak. I like to be flexible and open. If we find a spider's egg during show and tell, I want to scrap the curriculum and write poems about the miracle of life while we watch those spiderlings fly away (if you have no idea what I'm referencing, you obviously never had a child ask to read Show and Tell Bunnies every. blessed. day. for six months). If a Great Big Question pops up, I want to be able to ponder and discuss and dissect with my kids, not look at the clock and say, "Sorry, no time for inquisitiveness. Get back to your essay writing."
For now, I am going to give Kate and Katy my best effort, as well as the benefit of the doubt. If something comes up I suppose I will just add a day to my calendar. We may still be writing The Thematic Essay in May, but at least it will still feel like our classroom.