you a Layered Curriculum® Teacher?
Kathie F. Nunley
wondered if you truly are a Layered Curriculum teacher? Here are
the top 10 ways to identify a Layered Curriculum teacher and classroom.
See if any of these "ring a bell".
At the end of the day I'm exhausted!
When done correctly, Layered Curriculum is exhausting. You are up
and moving around and teaching and facilitating all day long. If
you think the Layered Curriculum method implies that student-centered
instruction requires no participation on the part of the teacher
- think again.
At the end of the day, I'm done!
Most days, a Layered Curriculum teacher can leave with nothing in
his/her hands except the keys. That's the trade-off for the incredible
work done during classtime. Obviously some days you may have some
A level assignment sheets to look over or the next unit to
plan, but certainly home time spent on grading papers is tremendously
reduced. You may actually find you have a home-life.
When someone walks into my room, they can't find me!
Rather than the old "˜sage on the stage" the Layered Curriculum
teacher is a fluid piece of the class. Anyone coming in to look
for you should have to pause, scan, and probably ask a student where
you are. That student should have to pause, scan...and "oh-yeah...there
she is, sitting with that group over there!"
I know what all my students smell like!
The very, very best part of Layered Curriculum is the one-on-one
time you get with every student, every day. You meet them face-to-face,
in their territory (their desk, not yours) to build those wonderful
relationships which drive us back to the classroom year after year.
Administrators are at a loss on teacher-observation evaluations!
Layered Curriculum is student-centered. Most teacher evaluation
checksheets are teacher-centered. Observers are trained to watch
the actions of the teacher and how they start, sustain, and close
the day's lesson. It is a bit of challenge for them in a room where
the students have the main role.
By the middle of the year, the students run the classroom as if
my presence makes little difference!
Certainly, you will always be their coach, but learning is an active
participation sport. No one wants to enjoy basketball by watching
the coaches demonstrate technique all day, every day. They want
to play. So do students. Set the boundaries, establish the goals,
then give them the playing field.
A lot of students are enjoying their first success in my subject!
Once the learning has been modified to fit the needs of the learner,
all students can succeed. Some students, with years of failure experience
may need more than a gentle nudge - you may have to force success
on them in the beginning, but by the end, everyone's going for the
My colleagues and I have a real reason to meet and share!
Layered Curriculum units are far easier to plan in pairs or groups.
Brainstorm using lots of brains. We tend to only think of lesson
ideas which would appeal to us, and that limits the options we offer
our students. Share and create in groups, visit the website and
look at the sample units there - even if they are not in your subject
or grade level. Get ideas wherever you can - and SHARE them.
I have fewer classroom management problems - by far!
Layered Curriculum won't eliminate all management problems, but
it certainly does remove most of them. Children would rather do
something than nothing. If they don't enjoy the "something" you
give, they will entertain themselves with "something" of their own
device. That's where the problems begin. By offering a wide range
of activities and giving them in the form of choice, students perceive
control over their situation, and engage themselves actively in
the learning process.
I'm actually smiling.
Layered Curriculum makes teaching fun. It puts the "fun stuff" into
the day. Grading papers, filling attendance, faculty meetings and
school lunch are not the reasons we teach. We teach for the kids
- one-on-one, making a small difference in someone's life and affirming
our faith in the future.
F. Nunley is an educational psychologist, author, researcher and
speaker living in southern New Hampshire. Developer of the Layered
Curriculum® method of instruction, Dr. Nunley has authored several
books and articles on teaching in mixed-ability classrooms and other
problems facing today's teachers. Full references and additional
teaching and parental tips are available at: http://Help4Teachers.com
Kathie (at) brains.org
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