I took the opportunity this summer to try out the Unique Curriculum from the folks at News-2-You. I was impressed by the program, and felt it did a lot of things very well. There are a few parts that they could improve.
The summer theme was "Summer". We talked about going to the pool, taking walks, going camping, etc... It was a good topic for a summer session, and even included an "indoor camping" lesson to end things. I was not able to complete all the lessons (we had a short ESY session this year), but do have some thoughts on it.
- The theme was something that all the students could relate too. It was easy to find activities that they understood.
- The curriculum covers all the areas. There were lessons for reading, math, science & social science.
- Differentiation! All lessons included several different levels to help teachers plan for different level students.
- Available for Primary, Intermediate, Jr. High & High School levels.
- Multiple materials available. Books came in 3 levels, worksheets came with pictures or without, even tracing or non tracing sheets for handwriting.
- The materials are all in black & white. This did not engage my students as well as other materials I've used.
- The lessons were in an odd order. Now this may be a misunderstanding by me, but all the reading lessons were first, then science, etc... I expected the different subjects to be scattered throughout the entire unit. Admittedly reading was prevalent in the majority of the lessons, but other subjects were more limited.
- I don't feel that there was enough core content to justify using it as a full curriculum. I can see using it for science/social science (since it has great themes), but using it as my full reading curriculum does not feel right to me.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Xose Castro
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