As a member of this Online Book Club, you are expected to post to the book blog at least once per week between now and July 11 -- that's six weeks. You should finish your book before then, and you will meet during the Institute in your groups to extend the discussion and plan how to present the book to the others in the Institute.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chapter 5 - Curating the Curriculum

Of all the chapters, Chapter 5 is the most challenging to the individual teacher.  This pose asks a teacher to do extensive research and to build a library that is relevant, inspiring, and challenging for students.  More than any pose, curating the curriculum would be most successful through teacher collaboration.

"In ELA departments and districts, the process of selecting texts that teachers will teach so so routine that we often forget that it is also deeply political. The books available in your school's book room, for example, constrain your student's reading choices in school." (PFW pg. 90)

Curating the curriculum is so important because teachers are entrusted with a power that they may not even understand and have a responsibility to provide students with thought provoking and varied literature.  If teachers continue to allow the canonical literature that has circulated for decades to dominate education, we will have uninvested, uninterested, non critical thinking students.  This responsible is big and should be advocated for department wide.  It seems obvious to me that many teachers are not currently curating the text because they are either provided with curriculum and don't know how to challenge it, or they are given curriculum and wouldn't dream of adding more work to the crazy load they already have if they don't need to.  The willingness to go above and beyond is what separates the good from the great, and students recognize that.

Another frustration of curating is finding the appropriate level for hundreds of students.  "Regardless of formation (i.e., digital, multimodal,, or print), texts can also provoke frustration if students find them too difficult to parse meaning from without teacher-supported scaffolding or, conversely, too easy compared to student's developmental level." (PFW 102)  This is just another support for my argument that this should be done collaboratively.

Lastly, I think curation is important because, as the authors touch on, it taps into the true expertise of teachers. "more than half of U.S. teachers hold master's degrees and yet teacher expertise is largely ignored in schools." (PWF 105)  Teacher morale is low in the schools I have been in and talking with other colleagues in different schools, they would echo that sentiment.  The pose of teacher as curator benefits students as well as teachers.

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