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My Approach to Curriculum Design
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  1. My Approach to Curriculum Design Dave Gagne EDU 652 April 23, 2012

  2. Looking Ahead to a Career Teaching the Social Sciences Everyone remembers at least one history teacher who gave a daily sermon filled with facts, figures, names, places, dates, millions of tons exported, gross domestic products (in billions of 1980 dollars), types of government, natural resources, rising birth rates, triangular trades, robber barons, peace treaties, alliances, détentes, taxes, tariffs, hot wars, cold wars, Wars of ____ (insert year here)…the list goes on, right? I don’t want to be the teacher waiting for Ferris Bueller’s response. I want a classroom that will engage my students, and it all begins with the design of the curriculum.

  3. Those who forgot the boring history lessons of their youth are destined to repeat them… • …to a new crop of bored students! Engaging

  4. 6 Pillars of Dave’s Design Process There are six areas that I look at when planning a course or unit of study. • Themes, Stories and Big Ideas • Communication and Analytical Skills • Active Engagement • Standards and Requirements • Best or Concurrent Practices in the Department • Interdisciplinary or Community Opportunities

  5. Themes, Stories and Big Ideas History is a series of stories. Causes and effects. In planning a history class, I start with the stories that I want to tell and the major themes of the era. hiSTORY

  6. Communication and Analytical Skills I also think about communications and analytical skills that will be important in life after high school. Then I look for ways to incorporate them into a course as an authentic way to practice the skills as well as learn course content. Sharing Thinking Questioning

  7. Active Engagement I develop active ways for students to experience the content of the course. Engagement is key. Participate

  8. Examples of Active Learning Students… • …teaching directly to their peers • …working with community leaders on an issue of interest to young people • …choosing their summative assessment project from a list of options • …developing a sociology question or experiment to conduct in school • …playing the roles of historical figures and deliberating on big issues in history • …writing an encyclopedia entry about an alternative ending to a historical event, based on both real facts and opinion • …exploring the evidence and artifacts of an unknown historical event to figure out what happened

  9. Standards and Requirements I ensure the appropriate standards of the Maine Learning Results and the requirements of the school district are met. While application of MLRs in Social Sciences seems to be mixed across school districts, they provide a loose framework of important skills and benchmarks, while leaving teachers ample flexibility to meet those standards in their own way. • Accountability Flexibility

  10. Best or Concurrent Practices in the Department I consult with department colleagues about their own past success teaching the course. I also coordinate with colleagues teaching another section of the same course. Collaboration

  11. Social Interdisciplinary or Community Opportunities I also turn to colleagues in other departments, particularly English, to see if there are opportunities to work together. And once we step out of the classroom, all the world around us can be the laboratory for the Social Sciences! I also look for opportunities to work with other parts of the school community or the larger community.

  12. Flexibility Social Making Sense of It All Collaboration • Accountability Questioning Social Participate Participate • Accountability hiSTORY Sharing Thinking Flexibility Collaboration Questioning

  13. The story of history is often more interesting and more important that the tiny details like places and dates. At the very least, those details are just trivia unless they have some context to tie them in place. The things most worth learning are those things that add to and inform the learning objectives for the course or the unit. What to Teach? Besides, who doesn’t like a good story?

  14. In My Room… But Not These “Have the Cold War-era Secretaries of State memorized by Monday.” “And what year was Millard Fillmore born?” “No, I’m sorry, the correct answer is 360,222 dead among Union forces. You wrote 350,000 on your test, and that is incorrect.” …You May Hear These, • “The story of the world wars in Europe begins with…” • “1770s Boston was a hot-bed of liberty and protest.” • “The path to the U.S. Civil War is littered with compromise, disagreement, and irreconcilable differences.” “Ooh, cool. Tell me more!”* “I think I hate you, Mr. Gagne”* * I can not guarantee the presence or absence of these statements.

  15. Colleagues in my department • Materials available in my school district and library • ETEP colleagues • The mountains of lesson plans, unit plans, activities, strategies, ideas and generally amazing stuff provided to me by ETEP Professor and Poland RHS teacher Mike Carter • Local sources of information when studying local Maine topics and connections. • AND, OF COURSE… Using My Resources, Near and Far

  16. …The INTERNET

  17. A whole world is now available to a teacher at click of a mouse. I have found many great resources among the digital deluge of education offerings. In each instance, I have spent time customizing those lesson plans to match my teaching style and the needs of my students. In the end, does it benefit my students? The Internet Requires Judicious Use of its Ample Resources Personalization

  18. I want to meet students where they are and have them begin their course from a position of relative comfort. • I want my content to be as accessible and authentic as possible. Moments of genuine engagement come when a class can get past the feeling that tasks must be done merely because it is school. The social sciences offer many opportunities for students to make connections to their own community and world. Making these connections can feel a lot less like school than read-lecture-test-repeat. • I want my teaching to be accountable (and therefore valuable) to the community and especially the consumers of that teaching, my students. The Why Why should curriculum development focus on big stories and student engagement? I will skip past the “box of chocolates” metaphor and just say that students have many different learning styles. All students deserve my efforts to make the social sciences interesting and relevant.

  19. The road goes on The End? Of course not! The learning and adjusting and tweaking should continue until the last day of teacher’s career (maybe the final month). There are still questions that I am pondering as I head into my career. How can I best use the technologies and the apps that students are most familiar with as part of my teaching? Can social media games be used as a guide to set up a course of study, with friends, tasks, rewards, levels, etc.? And much more. Lifelong Learning: Good for the goose, as well as the goslings

  20. Curriculum Design by Dave Gagne Active Engagement Best or Concurrent Practices in the Department Communication and Analytical Skills Interdisciplinary or Community Opportunities Standards and Requirements Themes, Stories and Big Ideas In the end, does it benefit my students? That is the goal.