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Writing a Usable and Working Curriculum. Background with Step-by-Step Guidance. Curriculum Planning.

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writing a usable and working curriculum

Writing a Usable and Working Curriculum

Background with Step-by-Step Guidance

curriculum planning
Curriculum Planning

"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction." (Covey, 1994)

curriculum planning1
Curriculum Planning
  • Curriculum Planning is a process
  • How should you approach curriculum development?
ideal curriculum document
Ideal Curriculum Document
  • Standards
  • Learning Targets (benchmarks)
  • Common Assessments--Benchmark and Summative; Formative assessments or strategies
  • Vocabulary
  • Instructional Resources
  • Modifications for differentiation
  • Scope and Sequence – Order
  • Units of Study
  • Pacing Recommendations – Curriculum Map
research findings source hiding in plain sight article
Research FindingsSource: “Hiding in Plain Sight” article
  • Robert Marzano’s metanalytic studies indicate that:
    • A decent, guaranteed curriculum may be the single largest in-school factor that affects learning.
  • David Conley adds that:
    • Common curriculum means very little without clearly specified parameters for how much reading and writing will be required in each course.
research findings
Research Findings
  • Mike Schmoker (writer, speaker, and consultant) outlines three “first things first” approach to helping ALL students be college and career ready:
    • Massively increase the amount of purposeful reading, writing and discussion.
    • Create and ensure the implementation of decent, coherent curriculum.
    • Ensure each lesson has clear, curriculum-based learning targets identified, multiple segments taught in short cycles of instruction, and frequent checks for engagement/understanding by all students before moving on.
using the 4 plc questions in curriculum planning
Using The 4 PLC Questions in Curriculum Planning

A PLC is always focused on student learning. When writing curriculum these questions become part of the discussion:

  • What is it that we want all students to learn? (Learning Targets Include both content standards and CCSS)
  • How will we know when each student has acquired the essential knowledge and skills? (Assessments)
  • What happens when students do not learn it? (Intervention Plan)
  • What happens when student have learned it? (Extensions and Enrichment)
understanding by design ubd
Understanding by Design (UbD)
  • It’s a way of thinking purposefully about curricular plan. It’s not a program.
  • Developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
  • End goal: Be able to connect, make sense of, and use discrete knowledge and skills in context.
  • Planning is best done backward from the desired results.
ubd the backward design model
UbD: The Backward Design Model
  • Identify desired results
    • What do students need to know and be able to do?
  • Determine acceptable evidence
    • How are students going to be able to demonstrate that they know and can do it?
  • Plan learning experiences and instruction
    • How are students going to learn and what do they need to be able to do?

The backward design model is comprised of the following three stages:

ubd visual
UBD Visual
  • Identify desired results
    • What do students need to know and be able to do?
so where do you start
So Where Do You Start?
  • Start with:
    • Reviewing existing courses – are you spending time on the right things?
      • Recommendations from your self study
      • Your national/state standards
      • Common Core standards for ELA
      • 21st Century expectations
    • Outlining new courses – are you planning to fill a gap based on needs or goals
learning targets
Learning Targets
  • They can recur--and should recur--in professional work, adult life, as well as in the classroom (Reeves:leverage).
  • They should provide a purpose for learning (Daggett:relevance; Reeves:endurance).
  • They are often higher-order, in Bloom's & DOK sense: they consist of analysis, synthesis, and evaluative judgment. You must “go beyond” the information given (Daggett:rigor).
  • They provide the necessary knowledge or skill needed for the next level (Reeves:readiness).
common core standards
Common Core Standards
  • Common Core Standards for ELA
    • Pages 60-66
21 st century skills
21st Century Skills
  • Partnership for 21st Century Skills
developing the cognitive rigor matrix
Developing the Cognitive Rigor Matrix

Different states/schools/teachers use different models to

describe cognitive rigor. Each addresses something


  • Bloom –What type of thinking (verbs) is needed to complete a task?
  • Webb –How deeply do you have to understand the content to successfully interact with it? How complex is the content?
dok level 1 recall and reproduction
DOK Level 1- Recall and Reproduction
  • Simple procedures and/or formulas
  • Recall of a fact, term, principle, concept, or perform a routine procedure
  • Students either know the information or they don’t
  • There is a correct answer
dok level 2 basic application of skills concepts
DOK Level 2 _ Basic Application of Skills/Concepts
  • Use of information & conceptual knowledge
  • Select appropriate procedures for a task, two or more steps with decision points along the way
  • Routine problems, organize/display data, interpret/use simple graphs
  • Involves the engagement of some mental processing beyond recall
  • Requires students to make some decisions about approaches
  • Usually one correct answer
dok level 3 strategic thinking
DOK Level 3- Strategic Thinking
  • Requires deep understanding and the use of higher-order thinking skills
  • Requires reasoning, developing a plan or sequence of steps to approach problem
  • Requires some decision making and justification abstract, complex, or non-routine
  • Stating one’s reasoning is a key marker
  • Requires coordination of knowledge and skill from multiple subject-matter areas
      • More than one possible answer
dok level 4 extended thinking
DOK Level 4 - Extended Thinking
  • Students are expected to make connections within the content and solve real-world problems
  • An investigation or application to real world
  • Requires time to research, problem solve, and process multiple conditions of the problem or task
  • Employ and sustain strategic thinking processes over a longer period of time
  • Non-routine manipulations, across disciplines/content areas/multiple sources
  • More than one possible answer
dok is about complexity not difficulty
DOK is about complexity—not difficulty!
  • The intended student learning outcome determines the DOK level. What mental processing must occur?
  • While verbs may appear to point to a DOK level, it is what comes after the verbthat is the best indicator of the rigor/DOK level.
    • Describe the physical features of a plant.
    • Describe how the two political parties are alike and different.
    • Describe the most significant effect of WWII on the nations of Europe.
evidence of learning assessments
What would be sufficient and revealing evidence of understanding?

What performance tasks support the unit and learning outcomes?

How will I be able to distinguish between those who really understand and those who don’t (though they may seem to)?

Evidence of Learning: Assessments
types of assessments
Types of Assessments
  • Summative – assessment of learning (end of unit, course)
  • Formative – assessment for learning; informs instruction
  • Benchmark – A benchmark is the target at any particular time. A benchmark assessment can measure where a student is in relation to the set target. Results may be monitored throughout the year, course.
more assessment related terms
More assessment related terms
  • Common assessment – an assessment given by two or more instructors with the intention of collaboratively examining the results for instructional planning for individual students and curriculum instruction, and/or assessment modifications
  • Screening – an assessment at beginning of new learning or beginning of the year; used to identify students who may be “at risk” of a poor outcome
  • Progress Monitoring – assessing students often and quickly to determine growth from additional supports and intervention
activities and strategies
Activities and Strategies
  • What would be interesting and engaging activities on this topic?
  • What resources and materials are available on this topic?
  • What will students be doing in and out of class?
  • What assignments will be given?
  • How will I give students a grade (and justify it to parents)?
  • Did the activities work? Why or why not?
other components1
Other Components
  • Vocabulary
  • Resources