Monday, June 1, 2009

Exploring Curriki

Anna at Literacy is Priceless is urging her readers to try out the Curriki Scavenger Hunt.
That's a little too structured for me, but I have been meaning for some time to check this site out, so I thought I'd poke around the site for a few minutes and share what I found.

About Curriki
Curriki derives its name from the words "curriculum" and "wiki," the latter being the software that is changing the way the internet is used by allowing more "readers" to become "writers." Wikipedia is perhaps the archetypal wiki site. Curriki is a non-profit corporation started by Sun Microsystems with a stated goal of supporting "the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them."

My Mission
My goal is to find an activity I can use during my next lesson with Alexi, a strikingly bright and entirely uninterested student that I work with two days a week. I've been working with him on recognizing main ideas in pieces of writing. He will talk to me without end about how little he cares for school; I figure he might as well be able to construct a proper argument for it. (Alexi is pseudonym).

It takes me less than five minutes to create a free account. I click the "Find" link on the left sidebar and choose the Advanced Search option, which allows you to specify the subject, grade level, language, etc. I type in "main idea" and check a few boxes and, within seconds, I am looking at this big unit on persuasive writing contributed by Andrea Chen.

On her profile page, I learn that Ms. Chen is a High School English teacher at the New Orleans Charter for Science and Math High School. This looks like a well-thought out unit plan. The massive block of text is a little daunting, though that isn't Ms. Chen's fault. Curriki ought to allow contributors to split these up into smaller segments.

But I have already found plenty of things I can use, such the "Vocabulary: Discussing the Art of Persuasion" lesson plan, which you can find by scrolling down about two screens into the unit. I can download the whole document and use it as I see fit. Thanks, Andrea!

Featured Resources
Curriki submissions can be rated and commented on by users, and some of the top rated materials are featured here. Just glancing at these, I find the following:
I get the feeling I could get delightfully lost looking through Curriki lesson plans and units. This is already a phenomenal resource, and I am very hopeful about what sites like this will do for education as they evolve. Not long ago, lesson plans were shared only in books and seminars and by word of mouth. Curriki allows teachers to conduct searches for resources, keep and modify them, discuss them with others, and add their own. Hallelujah!

I will keep you posted on my use of Curriki as I learn more. Please let me know if you have had success with Curriki or another site of its kind.

If you like this, check out Read Write Think, another great online lesson plan finder.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thanks Brian 1) for reading LIP and 2) for taking so much time to check out Curriki. I would love to know what other resources and features on the site you find of use!

    Another literacy site worth checking out is (although from the sound of it, you make be looking for content for higher grades). is another favorite!

    Great post! Thanks!