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M6T3: Response Paper #3

Pamela Salinas
C&T 709: Foundation of Curriculum and Instruction
Kansas University
October, 2015

In chapter 20, Peter Hlebowitsh does not present a new framework for looking at
curriculum. Instead, he asks us to use the past and present models to evaluate curriculum
today. Hlebowitsch describes curriculum today as a homeless adventurer venturing far
and wide on a journey to explore the world for new understanding. While I agree with
Hlebowitschs belief in re-evaluating curriculum using prior models, I also feel that we
must build curriculum around our audience today, moving them into a present time.
William R. Doll suggest that we do not make a complete break from the
beginnings of curriculum building, but does suggest new directions and concepts in
updating our thoughts on curriculum: richness, recursion, relations and rigor. Although
curriculum change can be difficult, I feel it is necessary in order meet the needs of our
students. As educators, we must evolve with research and adapt our craft to the changing
needs to our students.
After reading more on Dolls views on curriculum, I found myself agreeing with
most of his points. Curriculum should be rich. Curriculum should be relevant while
offering complexity. Creating lesson plans that boom depends greatly upon our ability to
understand the curriculum. More often times than none, Ive had to create my own
richness. For example, when I teach segmenting and blending syllables (in Spanish), I
allow my students to become a part of the process. I create paper necklaces where some
students identify themselves and consonants or vowels, they create single syllables, form
groups of four and create real or nonsense words, and substitute consonants and vowels
for others. If I were to just follow the heavy teachers edition, I would struggle greatly
with engaging my students on any lesson.

When Doll mentioned recursion, I immediately thought of Common Core and


how thats changed the process of problem solving, especially in math. I hear so many
parents complaining about not being able to assist their children in simple addition
problems in the higher grades because the process of addition has become too complex.
While I agree with those parents and understand their continuing frustration, I disagree.
Its allowing students to identify and perform alternative methods to problem solving.
Its building a strong number foundation to prepare our students for advanced math. I can
appreciate the development and approach in order to later reflect on my own work.
Speaking of foundation, I had always believed that a students learning/
educational foundation began in Kindergarten. I had a rude awakening when I constantly
kept asking myself why many of my students who had recently come from a foreign
country struggled socially. They never attended pre-k. Many didnt know how to interact
with each other, take turns, share, and struggled with routines. I wasnt aware of
meaningful play and the importance it would have on my kindergarteners the following
year.
Last year, our district asked twenty kindergarten classrooms to volunteer in the
participation of a pilot program. This pilot program wanted to implement
developmentally appropriate practices in our classrooms. It was argued that kindergarten
was looking too much like first grade and we needed to bridge kindergarten with pre-k in
order to better prepare our students for first grade. Throughout the school year, we had
the liberty of tying core subjects to one another and allowing students to obtain a better
grasp on a concept. We included more story telling and dramatic play. This allowed for
their vocabulary to expand and story retelling opportunities that greatly benefitted my

ELL students. My most favorite part was probably the project building. They were so
proud to explain and share the process of the project and what it was to their classmates.
Focusing on an area and building on it was more rewarding than jumping from one
subject to another without connecting them. This allowed my lesson to become rigorous
and rich.
Despite the fact that there have been great changes within my grade level and
school district, all schools are struggling with the constant change of curriculums every
year. Since Ive been working in this school district (six years), Ive had two reading,
two math, and three different ESL curriculums. With all these changes, its been real hard
to adjust and form some type of consistency within our instruction. For every new year,
there are changes that as an educator, you know you will make the following year so that
the lesson becomes better. This self-reflection helps us become better educators but,
when everything changes all over again, it can almost feel discouraging.
What I see as most promising for curriculum studies is how we chose to relate the
curriculum using Dolls concepts. This would of course work best if we spend some
actual time with a curriculum to study it ourselves and become more familiar with it.