How Do I Teach Along With Textbooks?

My Teaching Resolution.pngHello and happy Saturday. I know that the title of this post might lead you to think that I’m going to do a how-to sort of thing, but it’s actually I genuine concern I’ve had for the past school year because I haven’t yet found the way to use the textbooks I was given and combine them with my own ideas and lessons.

At my school, the oldest boys I teach, who are in the equivalent of 1st grade, have the Journeys kindergarten books, and I said it before once in a post: I despise those books. To me, it makes absolutely no sense to use them with ELLs who take English classes four times a week. I mean, classes are 45 minutes long and yet the way this books are thought, ideally students have a full day of class to work with Journeys.

And yes, I know I’m getting into territory that really is beyond my control because I didn’t choose this methodology, it had already been selected the year before I started working at this school or something like that, but I’m a sort of desperate situation and I need your help.

It is impossible for me to just set the books aside and not use them because my students’ parents paid a lot of money for both the student book and reader’s notebook, but I don’t want to base my whole lesson plans on these materials because then I wouldn’t be using my skills and ideas as a teacher.

I know the school year is almost over and sadly that means that all the mistakes I made with this 1st graders can’t be fixed, but this is my first year as a teacher and I’ll encounter these situations in the future and want to be ready. If in you’re school you’re required to work with a set of books, and specifically if you work or have worked with Journeys for Kindergarten, what is some advice you could give me? I’m at this point where I sort of want to sit down and reevaluate everything, start over with this methodology.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the books and think they are absolutely fantastic, both the big books and the student books. My students have advanced tons in reading and they genuinely enjoy the stories. The reader’s notebook though is absolutely horrible. I despise the activities that accompany the big book stories and I personally feel that they’re completely random and they don’t adjust to the students’ age or level. The phonics, vocabulary and grammar bits are alright, but then again some exercises are way too simple while others are really challenging and require me to do some further exploration of the topics.

This teacher is desperate. Please help!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

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