Anatomy of a Curriculum Kit, Part 1: What Is a Curriculum Kit?
One of the most successful and interesting things we did as part of our 2005-2007 NYS Parent and Child Services Grant was to create curriculum kits. We had homeschoolers in mind when we designed the kits–and homeschoolers are loving them–but the excellent news is that they’re also being used by teachers, tutors, and families of all types. I thought it might be helpful to talk about the nuts-and-bolts of putting one together.
So what does a curriculum kit look like? I’ll list the contents of two of the kits currently circulating at the Webster Public Library:
Gardening (Gr. K-2)
Kids’ Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out by Cindy Krezel, illustrated by Bruce Curtis
Dig, Plant, Grow: A Kid’s Guide to Gardening by Felder Rushing
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems about the Garden by Juanita Havill, illustrated by Christine Davenier
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Science Specimens: Plants (Lakeshore)
Birds (Gr. 3-5)
Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-Watching, and Shore Walking with Jim Arnosky by Jim Arnosky
Project UltraSwan by Elinor Osborn
Raptor!: A Kid’s Guide to Birds of Prey by Christyna Laubach, Rene Laubach, and Charles W.G. Smith
Songbirds: The Language of Song by Sylvia A. Johnson
Birding by Ear-Eastern/Central (CD, Peterson Field Guides)
The goal was to pull materials that would normally be shelved in many different areas of the collection together into multidisciplinary, multimedia kits that would be informative, spark interest, and help to encourage multisensory learning experiences. Most of the science and math kits have some kind of a manipulative (exs: dominoes, a magnifying glass, a tape measure, etc.) as well as one or more books that suggest experiments or activities. In the Gardening kit, for example, there are two activity books, Kids’ Container Gardening and Ready, Set, Grow. The Gardener is a picture book about a girl and her passion for gardening. Tops and Bottoms is a well-known folktale adaptation featuring a rabbit trying to outwit a lazy bear. I Heard It from Alice Zucchini is a poetry collection I adore. Last, the science specimens are plants embedded in acrylic with their various parts labeled. Were these materials not part of a kit, it would take quite a bit of time for a patron–or even a librarian–to identify them and track them all down. Aside from being extremely convenient, the kits give librarians the opportunity to showcase high-quality materials (some of which may not get the attention they deserve in the larger collection) and to show how different parts of the collection can be used together to study a topic. It’s a way for an individual librarian to share his or her expertise even when he or she is not in the building. How cool is that?
In our next installment, “Anatomy of a Curriculum Kit, Part 2,” we’ll explore how to decide what subjects to cover in your kits.Explore posts in the same categories: Curriculums and Other Homeschooling Resources, Library Programs and Services