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prioritizing and mapping the curriculum with the learning focused toolbox

This presentation will probably involve audience discussion, which will create action items. Use PowerPoint to keep track of these action items during your presentation

  • In Slide Show, click on the right mouse button
  • Select “Meeting Minder”
  • Select the “Action Items” tab
  • Type in action items as they come up
  • Click OK to dismiss this box
  • This will automatically create an Action Item slide at the end of your presentation with your points entered.

Prioritizing and Mappingthe Curriculum with theLearning-Focused Toolbox

A Process for Developing Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum


essential questions
Essential Questions
  • What process was used to create the curriculum documents?
  • What do the documents look like?
  • Where are they now?
  • Where do we go from here?
What is it?
  • Any document or plan that defines:
  • the work of teachers
  • the contentto be learned by the students
  • the methods to be used in the process.

What is it like?

A path or course to run in small steps.

What is the Purpose?To focus and connectthe work of classroom teachers in school to the standards, assessments and classroompractices in order to raise studentachievement.


What isn’t it?

Curriculum is NOTthe textbook or program you purchased from a publisher.

Curriculum can no longer be what you’ve been doing for the past 15 years unless it is demonstrated to be in line with the standards and assessments!

why prioritize the curriculum
Why ‘Prioritize’ the Curriculum?
  • Every state’s curriculum hasfar too manystandardsto be learned in the time available.
  • In the past, teachers have had to independently prioritize their curriculum - which has provided anuneven “taught” curriculumthat results ininconsistent achievement.
why prioritize the curriculum1
Why Prioritize the Curriculum?
  • The prioritizing curriculum process provides the means to deal with this abundance of standards and limited time.
  • Prioritizing the curriculum does not eliminatecurriculum, but rather‘codes the curriculum’.
  • All teachers that teach a common grade or course,now will emphasize the same learning and understanding rather than emphasizing“coverage”!
guaranteed and viable curriculum
Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
  • As referenced by Bob Marzano in his book:

What Works In Schools

“the single most important initiative a school or district can engage in toraise student achievement..”

guaranteed curriculum
Guaranteed Curriculum
  • EVERYSTUDENT is provided the opportunity to learn a core curriculum which provides them with the probability of success in school.
viable curriculum
Viable Curriculum
  • Schools make sure that the necessarytime is availableand protectedso students will be able to learn the guaranteed curriculum.
quality curriculum
Quality Curriculum:
  • Provides teachers with a guidefor what students need to learn in order to besuccessful.
  • Prevents redundancies in instruction.
  • Guards against gaps in student learning.
quality curriculum1
Quality Curriculum
  • Provides a sequenceof what needs to be learned across individual grade levels or courses as well as a vertical sequence from grade level to grade level or from course tocourse.
  • Provides teachers with a correlationto the standards and assessments in an attempt to assure students are as well prepared as possible.
exemplary practices in high achievement high accountability districts and schools
Exemplary Practices in High Achievement,High AccountabilityDistricts andSchools


-- Multiple Options for Acceleration

-- Vertical AND Grade Level Teams

-- Large Blocks of Time

-- Literacy & Math Blocks


--Focus = Assessment for Learning

-- Continuous Formative Assessment

-- Benchmark Assessments That Direct Instruction

-- Continuous Use of Rubrics


-- K- 12 Reading Comprehension

-- K- 12 Writing in Content

-- Advance Organizers, Scaffolding, Preview

-- Differentiated Cognitive Strategies

-- Schools With Instructional Coaches


-- Priority, Time Allocated

-- Data & Results Driven

-- Team-Based & Individual Planning

-- Linked to Staff Development


-- Prioritized Curriculum

-- K-12 Benchmarks/Maps

-- Curriculum Maps With Vocabulary Focus

best curriculum
Best Curriculum
  • The highest quality curriculum is developed by utilizing a wide range of resources during the development and subsequent monitoring of the curriculum.
    • Standards
    • Benchmarks
    • Performance Objectives/Standard Statements
    • Assessments
    • Teacher experience
  • Not all content is equal!
  • Standards contain a range of performance objectives and standard statements.
  • Some performance objectivesare moreimportant than others in helping students succeed!
how do we do it step 1
How do we do it? STEP 1
  • Teachers prioritized the PA Academic Standards into Essential, Important and Compact categories.

Essential = 50% of the Content Requires 70% of the Instructional Time

Important = 30% of the Content

Requires 25% of the Instructional Time

Compact = 20% of the Content

Requires 5% of the Instructional Time

  • Essential refers to the “Big Ideas” or concepts that you want your students to understand at a greater depth.
  • Important refers to the key knowledge and skills that lead to student understanding of the essential knowledge.
  • Compact: refers to the less important stuff that students can usually get by without or will be acquired as a result of other instruction.
vertical teaming
Vertical Teaming
  • After grade level teams and course teams prioritized their Standards, they met in vertical teams.
  • Here they reviewed and discussed their rationale for how they prioritized each Standard.
  • They looked for redundancies and gaps before returning to their teams to make revisions.
step 2
  • They clustered those Standards in the three categories into TOPICS that will be used to guide instruction.
  • Then they identified the CONCEPTS that are contained in each topic.
  • For every topic, they created a CurriculumMap including all the necessary elements.
mapping in toolbox
Mapping in Toolbox

Creating Curriculum Map in Toolbox

Printed or published

version of the

Curriculum Map




Key Learning (Enduring Understanding):

Instructional Tools:


Unit Essential Question(s):




Lesson Essential

Questions (LEQs):

Lesson Essential

Questions (LEQs):

Lesson Essential

Questions (LEQs):





Curriculum Map Components

KEY LEARNING: A full statement of what is essential for students to know and do, representing significant concepts key to understanding the content.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION(S): Written as a thought provoking and engaging question about the content that provides a view of the ‘Big Picture’ and acts as the ‘Mental Velcro’ for students to make connections.

Concepts: Nouns in the ‘Performance Objectives’ of each state’s standards.

Concepts: ‘Big Ideas’ that connect the skills or knowledge to the overarching topic.

Concepts: The ‘heart’ of the unit’s content.

Lesson Essential Questions: Concept specific but link to and support unit EQ(s).

Lesson Essential Questions: Frame the study of the topic and guide the learning. HOTS

Lesson Essential Questions: Used to activate & summarize key ideas.

Vocabulary: Words related to “Big Idea” concepts and skills being taught.

Vocabulary: Multiple meaning words & words that are easily misunderstood.

Vocabulary: Words that are critical and essential to understanding the content being taught.


Topic: First Grade Writing

Instructional Tools:Story Maps Writing Process Writer’s Workshop Animated Literacy Word Splash Organized Word Walls D-Nelian Handwriting

Key Learning:Spoken words, illustrations & print convey meaning.

Unit Essential Question:How can I be a good writer?


Letters & Words



LEQ(s): (1) How do I form letters correctly? (2) How do I make words that say what I mean?

LEQ(s): (1) Where do I start writing? (2) Where do I go when I reach the end of the line?

  • LEQ:
  • What does a sentence look like? How would I know one if I saw one?

Vocabulary: middle left around right bottom top down

Vocabulary: return sweep left top

right bottom

Vocabulary: question period space capital letter sentence lower/upper case letters exclamation mark question mark


Curriculum Map

Instructional Tools Egg Osmosis Kit DNA magnetic board Cookie Cell Model Rubric

Topic: Cells & Their Environment (Cell-e-brating life on a microscopic level.)

Key Learning: All living organisms are made up of cells with specialized parts and functions. Each type of cell has a characteristic structure.

Unit Essential Question: If you were a cell, would you have more or less mitochrondria to party?

Cell Anatomy Physiology

The Cell & It’s DNA

The Cell’s Environment

LEQ(s): (1) Why would you call a nucleus “the central center” of a cell? (2) How is your DNA similar to the DNA of bacteria?

LEQ(s): (1) How is a fence and a cell membrane similar? (2) What happens when a cell changes environment?

LEQ(s): (1) How are a cell’s parts related to function? (2) What causes varieties in cells?

Key Vocabulary: ribosomes chromatin centrioles Golgi Bodies endoplasmic reticulum lysosome

Key Vocabulary: DNA RNA nucleotides nitrogen bases complementary bases Double helix

Key Vocabulary: osmosis solutions diffusion hypotonic plasmolysis hypertonic permeable isotonic


Topic: Persuasive Writing (10th Grade American Literature)

Instructional Tools:Essay Rubric Persuasive Writing Graphic Organizer Literature Suggestions: Equiano, Paine, P. Henry, Jefferson, popular media & political documents

Key Learning:Persuasive writers use reason, emotion & credibility to influence our thinking & motivate readers to action.

Unit Essential Question:How do persuasive writing techniques influence & motivate a reaction from readers?


Logic & Reason

Emotional Appeal



(1) What are the differences between fact and perception?

LEQ(s): (1) How do the words a writer chooses influence his audience? (2) How does popular belief persuade a majority?


How do I connect the individual parts of an essay in order to unify it?


refute opposition

deduction qualify

induction logos

Vocabulary: structure organization emphasis pace coherence transitions unity rhetorical question

Vocabulary: diction tone pathos attitude spin rhetorical purpose


Sample Curriculum Map

3rd Grade Math: Multiplication

Instructional Tools:

Graph Paper

Multiplication Charts


Real Life Problems

(finding area)

Sequence Chart of Steps

Key Learning:Multiplication is a more

efficient way of adding.

Essential Question:

How do we use multiplication?






1. How can arrays help you

understand multiplication?

2. How is multiplication

repeated addition?

3. How can you use skip

counting to find a product?


1. How do you multiply

factors to get a product?

2. What patterns can help

you remember the

multiplication facts?

3. How can we find errors

in multiplying?


1. Where is


used in real-life?











lattice method




large lots


finding area



8 th grade social studies the lewis and clark expedition



  • Expedition
  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Northwest Passage
  • economic
  • political


  • impact
  • accomplishment
  • significance
8th Grade Social Studies: The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Instructional Tools:

Key Learning(s):Exploration is motivated by political,

economic, scientific, & social factors. Individuals and their

values impact history. Patterns in one historical event can

be found in other historical events.

  • Students will be able to:
  • Primary Sources
  • Time Line
  • Persuasive Writing Graphic
  • Persuasive Writing Rubric
  • Word Splash

Unit Essential Question(s):

The Lewis and Clark Expedition: What’s the big deal?

The Corps ofDiscovery



Lesson Essential


Lesson Essential


Lesson Essential


What were the contributions of the expedition?

How can we find patternsin historical events?

How is the Lewis and ClarkExpedition like other events in history?

Why did you send them, Thomas Jefferson?

How can you support Jefferson’sdecision?

Who were they andwhy were they chosen?

  • corps
  • adventurous
  • leadership
  • teamwork
  • perseverance

Curriculum Maps: Why are they so important?

Use as communication device

Conceptualizea unit

Enable consistent curriculum pacing and planning

Highlight important vocabulary

Enable students to"see"the knowledge gained over time and their learning


Visual representation

Vocabulary term

Arms race


A competition between countries for the most and most powerful weapons

Personal association

Swans and peacocks

step 3 course map
Step 3: Course Map
  • Teachers estimated how much time should be spent on each topic and arranged them sequentially on a course map.
  • The goal of the course map is to assure that all the content is taught before it is tested!!!!
  • Revisions are expected to be made to the content maps and to the course maps as ALL teachers experience them.
pacing and prioritizing time
Pacing and Prioritizing Time

Clicking on the Topic

in the timeline opens

the Curriculum Map for

the unit.

step 4 a work in progress
Step 4: A Work In Progress
  • Revise the priorities and edit the Curriculum Maps as needed – based on current assessment data and experience.
benefits for teachers
Benefits for Teachers…
  • The instructional “WHAT” has been shared, making it quick and easy to develop plans
  • Many instructional factors have been decided and developed for teachers, making their planning time much more efficient
  • Lessons are directly connected to the school/district prioritized curriculum
  • Planning and sharing with peers is easier and more efficient
benefits for students
Benefits for Students…
  • Mobility has much less impact on achievement
  • Instruction is directly connected to what is tested
  • Consistency of strategies and formats raises their performance
how do you use your curriculum maps
How do you use your ‘Curriculum Maps’?
  • The ‘Curriculum Maps’ are not meant to createmore work for teachers but to act as guides as they plan instruction!
  • In grade level/course teams, preview the maps and discuss what content you are already addressing in your instructional program.
  • At this point, you can assess what needs tobe added or deleted from your current program to assure student success
what to do with it
What to do with it?
  • Using Toolbox, your Curriculum can be automatically published to your district/school Curriculum website …
school district use
School/District Use
  • Complete the rest of the unit decisions and develop the lessons in Toolbox
    • Saves teacher planning time
    • More school/district input into instruction
    • Allows for consistency of assessments and learning strategies
    • Easily shared and distributed to teachers

Decision 1

Decision 2

Decision 4

Decision 5

Decision 6

Decision 3 – part of Decision 2 in Toolbox

Decision 7

Decision 8

Decision 9

Decision 10

Decision 11

where do we go from here
Where do we go from here?
  • July 11-12, 13-14, 18-19, 20-21, 2006
    • First draft –Prioritization and mapping
    • Document “published” but not “shared” (
  • September 12
    • First review, revisions by volunteer members of Review Committee
    • Document “shared” within Toolbox
  • Summer 2007
    • Second review, revisions by Review Committee
where do you go from here
Where do you go from here?
  • Questions to ask at district level:
    • Who do you give access key code to?
      • Who gets ‘Read Only’?
      • Who gets ‘Edit’ rights?
    • How does the sequencing of the units on the Timeline correlate to the text book series used in the district?
    • Who will introduce the maps to the staff? When?
    • How will exemplary lessons/units be attached to the map?
    • Who will create lessons/units?
    • Who will approve and save lessons/units?
    • How will staff be informed of new lessons/units?