Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Basals Shmasals.

My county recently adopted a Language Arts curriculum. Which is a fancy way of saying schools now have to spend a boat-load of $$$ on new materials we may or may not actually use. Let me just start by saying that I came into teaching in a post-basal period. The school where I started teaching was nearly brand new so there weren't even old basal sets hiding in storage closets.

Thank God.

This is not the case with my current school. I've heard tell of a mystical storage closet full of old basals. Somewhere in the building. A few of the teachers on my team still have them in their classrooms. I said "no thank you" to the basals...

Since I have never taught using a basal, it was easy for me to adapt to teaching without them. I taught Language Arts using Guided Reading and the balanced literacy model. The schools in my county provide each teacher with a core set of leveled books for guided reading and then also have a book room where you can go and check out more titles on a wider range of levels as needed. Give me this:
and this:

and I'm good to go.

But textbooks look good to the school board for some reason so now we have adopted a series from Benchmark Education.

I'm interested in the new series because it is definitely NOT a basal (sigh of relief). But I have no idea what to expect. No one at my school has actually laid eyes on these materials. I'm curious to know if any of you are using these materials yet. From what my principal says, this has only been around for a year or two and all the research supporting the program was sponsored by SURPRISE Benchmark Education.... Click the picture above to check out the Benchmark page. Any thoughts?


  1. Hey you -- I've gone through all of the second grade materials and I like it actually! I think it's better suited to high - needs schools like mine where the ESOL population make up the majority, but I don't think it will be awful. The phonics program is good too, so we'll be purchasing it as well. I actually like the writing better than what we use now, so we'll be integrating it too...

    1. Oh good! All I've seen is a flier that didn't really tell me anything about what the kit actually contains. We won't get to see it until August.

    2. Check your work e-mail. I can fix that. :)

  2. Am I getting those too? Hadn't heard about it at all! (and I've got a dropbox update for ya!)
    The Meek Moose