Having your cake…

Recently, I accidentally freaked my student teacher out. It caused me to reflect on my expectations for curriculum. What I realized is that after everything I’ve read in education, my brain has decided to be consistent with its nature and try to go straight down the middle! It comes across as “out there” and unrealistic but I truly believe it’s achievable.

But I should explain the context-

1: We should study literature chronologically.

2: We should study literature thematically.

I certainly can’t achieve both with precision. So I suppose I should use different words. It is my goal to use a timeline of literary periods as the backbone to my year (in both British and American literature, respectively). I think it is important and interesting to see how they bounce off of one another and I think it helps make history become more real. Reading a novel with characters that you can connect to can help us understand history in a different way that just looking at the wars and leaders and dates teaches us.

On the other hand, it’s critical that the curriculum not hop from one idea to something else that feels completely random. For example, if we read The Scarlet Letter, then Common Sense, then The Tell Tale Heart we would be  chronological but disjointed. I think of curriculum like a well organized, carefully crafted essay. How can I ask students to write this way if I can’t teach this way?

I’m still struggling and contemplating on how I can do this for American literature but I have a strong sense of where I’m going – just need to make sure I pull out the right pieces. Then I like to supplement thematically by pulling from literature (can be poems, excerpts, short stories, or even pop culture stuff like music, tv, movies) to enhance.

Still hashing out the details. I will share whatever I manage to come up with that attempts to satisfy both. And then I will try to post about how essential questions fit in. Sure, I have some lined up but have realized they are much more complex than I first thought and I need to do some more reading about it first. 🙂


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