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Curriculum Writing 101

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  1. Curriculum Writing 101 Translating the CCPS Library Media Scope and Sequence into Meaningful Instruction

  2. Instructional Design Models • The CCPS curriculum framework has been designed to focus the attention of curriculum writers on the big picture before any individual lesson plans are designed. It incorporates two instructional design models: • Understanding by Design • Dimensions of Learning

  3. Instructional Design Model: UBD • Understanding by Design: • …is sometimes called “backward design” because it starts with what students should know or be able to do at the end of a unit of instruction and ends with the actual learning activities. • …directs our attention beyond the indicators to the big picture or enduring understanding that students should carry with them for life after a unit of instruction.

  4. Instructional Design Model: UBD • The enduring understanding can be difficult to define at first. However, if you think of what is important to remember about a concept, topic or skill after 10-20 years, you will be describing an enduring understanding.

  5. Instructional Design Model: UBD • For example, what does the following Library of Congress call number represent? QA117 Q = Science QA = Mathematics 117 = Fractions, decimals and percents

  6. Instructional Design Model: UBD • Did you ever use a library that was organized by the Library of Congress classification system? • Were you able to use the library successfully? • How? Thinking about how you transferred your understanding of the Dewey system to the LOC system helps to identify the enduring understandings that you developed about call numbers and library classification systems.

  7. Instructional Design Model: UBD • An enduring understanding about call numbers is that they point to a specific location on a shelf where you can find information you need. As long as you can count sequentially or know the alphabet, you can find the book you are looking for. • An enduring understanding about the Library of Congress system or the Dewey Decimal system is that it is a form of classification. It groups like objects together, so once you find the shelf location, you can browse for books with similar topics.

  8. Instructional Design Model: UBD • An essential question is developed from an enduring understanding. • The essential questions about the Library of Congress system or the Dewey Decimal system could be: • How does a classification system help you to locate information efficiently? • How can you use the classification system to browse for information?

  9. Instructional Design Model: UBD • Once you have identified what it is important for students to know or be able to do at the end of a unit of instruction, UBD requires that you design an assessmentthrough which students can demonstrate their mastery of the material.

  10. Instructional Design Model: UBD • Formative assessments are used to ascertain student comprehension in the midst of a unit of instruction in order to make instructional decisions such as re-teaching or differentiation. They are sometimes referred to as “assessment FOR learning.” • Summative assessments are used to ascertain student mastery at the conclusion of a unit of instruction. They are sometimes referred to as “assessment OF learning.” !!!! When the term “assessment” is used within UBD, it is referring to a summative assessment.

  11. CCPS Curriculum Framework: UBD • Our curriculum frameworkbegins with a section labeled “Desired Results.” The first page in this section asks for the major concepts, generalizations and essential questions that will be developed through the unit. • The major concepts come from the indicators in the CCPS Library Media scope and sequence. • The generalizations are the enduring understandings developed from the indicators. • The essential questions are developed from the enduring understandings.

  12. CCPS Curriculum Framework: Standards • The second page of Desired Results asks for the content standards that will be addressed during the unit of instruction. These come directly from the CCPS Library Media skeletal units. • These skeletal units for each grade are available on the website at:

  13. CCPS Curriculum Framework: UBD • Having identified the indicator(s) to be addressed, the essential question(s) and the enduring understanding(s), the curriculum template next asks for the assessments that will occur within the unit. • The summative assessment should be developed before any learning activities are planned. • The formative assessments will be developed as individual lesson plans are created.

  14. Instructional Design Model: DOL • Dimensions of Learning is a comprehensive, research-based framework that describes five essential types of thinking which play an integral role in the planning and delivery of instruction.

  15. Instructional Design Model: DOL • Dimension 1: Positive attitudes and perceptions. • Dimension 2: Acquiring and integrating knowledge (declarative and procedural knowledge.) • Dimension 3: Refining and extending knowledge. • Dimension 4: Using knowledge meaningfully. • Dimension 5: Productive habits of mind.

  16. CCPS Curricular Framework: DOL • After defining the enduring understandings, content standards and summative assessment, the curriculum template asks planners to turn their attention to the Dimensions of Learning. • Specifically, the template asks planners to define the declarative and procedural knowledge that students will develop. This is Dimension of Learning 2.

  17. CCPS Curricular Framework: DOL • In the context of the media program, the other Dimensions are addressed as follows: • DOL 1 - fostering positive perceptions of the media center • DOL 3 - creating lessons which focus on critical thinking skills such as comparing/contrasting, classifying, inferring etc. • DOL 4 - creating units which require students to apply knowledge and skills to develop creative solutions to information problems. • DOL 5 - encouraging metacognition by having students articulate their thinking and reflect on their own performance.

  18. Lesson Planning: Philosophical Approaches • There are three major philosophical approaches that inform instruction: • Behaviorism defines learning as observable changes in behavior. It focuses on repeating a new behavioral pattern until it becomes automatic. It uses rewards and punishment to reinforce desired behavior/understanding. • Worksheets • Homework • Programmed learning • Behavior modification programs

  19. Lesson Planning: Philosophical Approaches • There are three major philosophical approaches that inform instruction: • Cognitivism focuses attention on the thought process behind the behavior. Changes in behavior are observed and used as indicators as to what is happening inside the learner’s mind. Learning is defined as a change in schema. • Schema • Mental maps • Information processing

  20. Lesson Planning: Philosophical Approaches • There are three major philosophical approaches that inform instruction: • Constructivism focuses on the ways in which we construct our own perspective of the world through individual experiences and schema. It promotes learning by exposure to open-ended problems that must be solved. • Problem-based learning • Proximal Zone of Development • Scaffolding

  21. Lesson Planning: Philosophical Approaches • The best instructional planning makes use of all three approaches, tailoring the approach to the specific learning need or situation. • When students need to develop new understanding, the constructivist approach works best. • When prior knowledge needs to be assessed, the cognitivist strategy of drawing a mental map can be very useful. • When students need to practice skills, the behaviorist approach makes more sense.

  22. Lesson Planning: Grouping Decisions • Teachers usually group students in one of three ways for instruction and performance: • Whole group instruction • Small group instruction or performance • One-on-one instruction or individual performance

  23. Lesson Planning: Grouping Decisions • Whole group instruction is often used to introduce the entire class to something new. It helps to activate prior knowledge and to build a common foundation for future exploration or learning .

  24. Lesson Planning: Grouping Decisions • Small group instruction encourages more active participation by all students and works well with constructivist learning activities. It is often used to set up cooperative learning structures or to differentiate instruction based on student needs for reinforcement or enrichment.

  25. Lesson Planning: Grouping Decisions • Individual instruction or performance allows students to work independently, which some students prefer and all students need to experience. It is closely aligned to assessment. While carefully constructed small group projects can be used to assess performance skills, individual assessments are typically used for assessing mastery of content.

  26. Lesson Planning: Instructional Strategies • Instructional strategies are the methods used to design learning activities that promote active learning, enhance engagement and deepen understanding. A few of the numerous strategies that teachers can choose to use include: • Think-pair-share • Numbered heads together • Jigsaw • Gallery walk • Four corners • Concept attainment • Concept anchoring

  27. Lesson Planning: Learning Styles • Good teachers make sure that their plans addressdifferentlearning styles. These are the modalities that students use to take in information. • Visual learners need to see body language and facial expressions. They gravitate toward pictures and movies and prefer to sit in the front of the class. • Auditory learners enjoy lectures, discussions, and are very sensitive to verbal nuances such as tone, pitch and speed. • Tactile/kinesthetic learners need a hands-on approach and find it hard to sit for extended periods of time.

  28. Lesson Planning: Multiple Intelligences • Multiple intelligences complement the concept of learning styles.Theyare different ways in which students can demonstrate or express their intellectual ability. Good planning requires that you provide activities that address different intelligences as frequently as possible. • Bodily-kinesthetic * Interpersonal • Verbal-linguistic * Musical • Logical-mathematical * Intrapersonal • Visual-spatial * Naturalistic

  29. Curriculum Writing: Putting It All Together • Identify a grade-level curricular focus that you can use as an anchor for a research project. • Select one of the skeletal units. • Analyze the library media indicators to see what the most important thrust of the unit will be. Remember, while we may be tying into the Farms unit from the kindergarten curriculum, we are not teaching about farms. We are developing an understanding of library indicators.

  30. Curriculum Writing: Putting It All Together • Develop an enduring understanding and essential question for the unit. • Based on the enduring understanding, develop a summative assessment for the unit. In many cases, this will be the final project. • From the indicators, identify the declarative and procedural knowledge that students will develop through this unit.

  31. Curriculum Writing: Putting It All Together • Begin to develop the individual lesson plans, using the same backward design method (UBD) used for the unit as a whole. • Identify the objective(s) or indicator(s) for the lesson. • Imagine the way in which a student could demonstrate 100% mastery of that objective or indicator. • Create an assessment that will measure complete proficiency.

  32. Curriculum Writing: Putting It All Together Now you are ready to start designing the learning activities that will allow students to develop mastery: • Make decisions about grouping patterns within the lesson. • Vary the instructional strategies used in lessons as frequently as possible. • Consider individual learning styles and multiple intelligences as you write plans.

  33. Curriculum Writing: Putting It All Together • Make sure that you include technology wherever possible so that our lesson plans help students to develop 21st century skills. • Include potential correctives and extensions that address the needs of all students. • Identify skills and processes that could form the basis for centers back in the classroom. • Create a letter home to parents describing the unit that students will be experiencing. Include suggestions for how parents can support and reinforce concepts and skills developed.