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Samantha Beattie's picture
Samantha Beattie has taught first grade for eight years and is currently teaching a multi-age classroom of first and second-graders. She graduated Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree...
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Common Core Curriculum Maps

I am back with yet another Common Core teacher resource book. I have spent the past few days reading through the first grade section of Common Core Curriculum Maps. Again~ let me quickly note~ I have no relationship to the publisher or authors of this book. My opinions~ are just that~ mine. I am only sharing what I think about this as a resource for planning and instruction of the Common Core Standards.

This book includes grades K-5. Each grade level has approximately 50 pages of ELA "maps." When I ordered the book~ and read the reviews~ I thought this book was going to be more of a pacing guide. It is NOT a pacing guide. There are no timeframes or orders of how or when to teach the standards.

The Common Core Curriculum Maps offers 6 units for each grade level. The units provided are suggested six-week units. To me~ these are not units as teachers think of units. It is merely a topic with the resources as far as text~ are suggested. The term "unit" is referring to an overview of a topic and tying in ELA to curriculum areas.

Within each unit~ you will find sample activities and assessments. The activities incorporate suggestions for discussion~ art~ language/writing~ poetry/fluency~ informative/explanatory writing~ literary text~ and cross-curricular activities. Each unit provides one sample lesson plan~approximatelytwo pages long. Looking at the sample lesson plan~ I am unsure of how to pull the unit across six weeks. This is not a book with premade thematic unit and plans. It is a general overview as to what a unit may look like and the resources needed if you were to choose to teach the unit. All lessons and activitieswould be created by the teacher.

The suggested texts are more extensive than what is provided by CCSS in the Exemplar appendixes. The book lists tie into the theme of the unit. The list provided me with a better sense of the types of read-alouds and shared readings I should be doing in my classroom. From the lists~ I should be able to compile a great set of CCSS books and lessons~ in different theme units.

Common Core Curriculum Maps also has a section for the Reading Foundations standards. This part is laid out by grade level. It is broken into levels to differentiate instruction. I really like the levels and how they are laid out. It clearly shows the path of growth as a student masters the skill at one level and directs the teacher to the next level of the skill. It provides suggestions and activities for teaching the RFstandards. This is by far my favorite part of the book. I feel the RFportion is clearly laid out and planned. I now have a clear view of how to teach and "go deeper" with the Reading Foundationalskills.

Overall~ I was a bit disappointed in the book. The term "curriculum maps" was misleading~ in the way a teacher refers to a curriculum map. The book is in no way a map or pacing guide as a classroom teacher would expect it to be. They provide great "unit" ideas~ which I felt could have been more in-depth as to how to stretch the unit for six-weeks. To me~ the book assumes all K-5 teachers teach in thematic units and would be able to easily incorporate and expand on the units. This is not the case at my school~ as we have been textbook driven for years. So~ if you are looking for a Common Core resource which can provide you with unit topics~ book lists~ and a general idea of how to implement~ this is the book for you. If you are looking for a book which thoroughly explains a teaching unit and how to pull in several curriculum areas~ this is not the book for you.

I will be using this book mainly for the Reading Foundational Skills guide. What are your thoughts? Have you gotten this book?