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Introduction to D istrict C urriculum M apping. August 2010 Written By: The Albuquerque Public Schools Department of Curriculum and Assessment. Updated from the 2008-09 Introduction to District Essential Curriculum Mapping by the APS Curriculum Mapping Task Force. Agenda.

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introduction to d istrict c urriculum m apping

Introduction toDistrict Curriculum Mapping

August 2010

Written By:

The Albuquerque Public Schools

Department of Curriculum and Assessment

Updated from the 2008-09 Introduction to District Essential Curriculum Mapping by the APS Curriculum Mapping Task Force




Overview of APS’ Curriculum Mapping Initiative: What it is and what it isn’t

Review goals for today’s & future work

Format of District Curriculum Maps and their role as general pacing guides

Connections to Assessment & Backward Design




Review of Core Content Curriculum Maps

• Big Ideas and Essential Questions

• Assessments

• Unwrapping the Standards:

Content & Skills

• Pacing of Performance Standards

Guidelines on developing other DCM components

Whole group debriefing, questions, & feedback (as time allows)

group norms

Group Norms

Begin and end on time

Be courteous to colleagues; limit sidebar conversations

Use equity of voice

Stay on task

Turn cell phones to vibrate/step outside to take calls

Take care of your own personal needs


what is a district curriculum map or dcm

What is aDistrict Curriculum Mapor “DCM”?

A district planning tool used to map out the pacing of standards-based education by course or content

An alignment of instruction and assessments to state standards

A teacher resource tool used to communicate standards-based instruction with students, parents and colleagues


what is a curriculum map

What is a Curriculum Map?

A district tool used by all professionals who plan and deliver instruction which includes: Performance Standards, Essential Questions/ Big Ideas, Assessments, Content and Academic Vocabulary, Skills and Learning Activities, and Resources

An organizer which supports professional vertical and horizontal articulation

A blueprint to be used as a guide to support schools’ development of differentiated course/content planning


dcm implementation

DCM Implementation

NM State law requirements:


SY 2009-10: SCIENCE


APS’ 2008-10 goal is the development of District Curriculum Maps for every APS core course/ content area (K-12).Other content/course maps are also being developed (CTE, drama, fine arts, health/PE & others).

As of SY 2009-10, educators will have online access to District Curriculum Maps through the Albuquerque Instructional Management System (AIMS)



District Curriculum Map Components

Essential Components

Essential Components

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

district curriculum map non negotiables

District Curriculum MapNon-negotiables

Consistency across content areas is the key:

DCM template format is final

Standards are written in entirety

(may not be reworded or modified)



District Curriculum Map Components

Essential Components

Essential Components

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

linking performance standards to assessments

Linking Performance Standards to Assessments

Performance Standards are aligned to district benchmark (short-cycle) assessments

Performance Standards are aligned to classroom formative and summative assessments


curriculum map template

Curriculum Map Template



content what students need to know

Content includes:

ContentWhat students need to know

Topic written in Noun form

An interdisciplinary focus

Student-friendly wording/strategies

Vocabulary (academic language);

words students need to know to understand concepts




Linear equations


Surface area and volume of basic figures

Historically and culturally significant issues and events portrayed in literature

Writing strategies and conventions

Tools and Resources

Frayer Model

Teaching and Learning with Text

Word Walls

Marzano’s Building Academic Vocabulary





Intro to District Curriculum Mapping



What students need to be able to do

Written in Verb form

Specific, not broad-based


Used to develop guided learning activities

Based on standards





Creating and analyzing graphs

Applying order of operations

Interpreting and drawing three-dimensional objects

Responding to, examining, and critiquing literature

Writing effectively for different audiences and purposes


course grade 4 math unwrapping content and skills

Content Skills

(know/noun) (do/verb)


MA 4.1.2 identify

* = academic language exhibit (an understanding place-value structure)

base-ten number system read

whole numbers up to 100,000 model

application write

* equivalent representations recognize

numbers less than 0 generate

number line order

negative numbers *decompose




Course: Grade 4 MATHUnwrapping Content and Skills

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

let s try unwrapping some of your performance standards

Let’s try unwrapping some of your performance standards!

Move into your smaller leveled subgroups and take 15-20 minutes to unwrap 2 performance standards

Illustrate your discussion & work on chart paper

Select a reporter to share out your work and thoughts on the process with the entire group


Big Ideas

Big Ideas

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

big ideas

Big Ideas

“It is not enough simply to say to students, “Here’s the big idea you need to know” and then proceed to tell them what the big idea is.”

Students need to make discoveries on their own!

-Larry Ainsworth, 2003, Unwrapping the Power Standards

defining a big idea

Defining a Big Idea

Statement derived from a deep understanding of the concepts or content

Open-ended, enduring idea that can apply to more than one area of study

Students develop an understanding of skills and concepts expressed in the standard

Student responses to the Essential Questions are the Big Ideas

more reflections on a big idea

More reflections on a Big Idea

Derived from Standards

Light Bulb Moments

Aha’s…“Oh, I get it.”

Big Picture

Enduring Understandings/central themes

Personally worded statements

Students reach them on their own

Realizations, discoveries & conclusions

examples of big ideas

Examples of Big Ideas

Graphs and quadratic equations can be used to solve real-life problems.

Data can be organized and interpreted with graphs, equations, and charts.

In real life we need to know how to find area, perimeter, and volume (architecture, cooking, purchasing supplies).

Recognition of societal issues can impact changes in political systems.

People’s perceptions are influenced by media and opinion.

Many recurring themes found in literature are timeless.


Essential Questions

Essential Questions

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

big ideas build the essential questions

Big Ideas Buildthe Essential Questions

Essential Questions are posed to students at the inception of a unit

The learning goals students are expected to meet are advertised up front

As students move through the lessons and activities, they develop their own understanding of concepts and skills expressed in the standard and formulate their response to the Essential Question


Big Idea

essential questions

Essential Questions

Essential Questions are powerful, directive, and commit students to the process of critical thinking through inquiry

Answers to Essential Questions are a direct measure of student understanding

Answers to Essential Questions provide insight into the “bigger picture” and are the Big Ideas

what should essential questions do

What should Essential Questions do?

Essential questions require at least one of the following thought processes:

A question which requires a student to develop a plan or course of action

A question which requires a student to make a decision

A question which directs the course of student research

A question which demands knowledge construction (from lower to higher thinking, based on Bloom’s and Webb’s taxonomies) from students

essential questions1

Essential Questions


In what ways can the graph of a quadratic equation help us answer questions about the height of an object?

How can data be represented, organized, or interpreted?

How are the basic skills for geometry and measurement applied in everyday life?

How does literature serve as a vehicle for social change?

How are we influenced by what others write?

Why are the works of Shakespeare still contemporary?


what is a strong eq
“stronger” . . .

What plan could you develop that would reduce your likelihood of becoming obese?

What is a strong EQ?

“okay” . . .

What is obesity?

  • Encourages plagiarism
  • (Students copy low-level information directly to paper.)
  • Encourages deeper thinking
  • (Students are required to develop a plan.)
what is a strong eq1
“stronger” . . . What are the relative strengths of the different representations of functions?

Requires makinga decisionand craftinga response that involves analytical knowledge construction

Students need to apply previous knowledge and make connections

What is a Strong EQ?

“okay” . . . How do you define and represent functions?

Asks for a definition and example

Students copy information directly from text

what makes a great essential question

Does the question ask students to:

  • Develop a plan or course of action
  • Make a decision
  • Direct the course of student research
  • Craft a response that involves knowledge


What Makes aGreat Essential Question?

As a table group, review your grade level Essential Question(s) and edit one or more to make them GREAT (or stronger)!




Intro to District Curriculum Mapping



Products or performances that demonstrate student learning

Summative assessments

Provide evidence of mastery of standards at specific points-in-time

Are graded assessments at the end of the unit of study

Formative assessments

Guide instruction

Inform the need for differentiation

Provide feedback to students

assessment brainstorm
Assessment Brainstorm

Formative Assessment:

Summative Assessment:

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

formative assessments

Formative Assessments

are assessments FOR learning

Occur during instruction

Guide instruction to improve learning

Help inform decisions for differentiation

Build student motivation to succeed


Student demonstrations

Group research project-checks along the way

Pretest; KWL; Quiz


Checking for Understanding

Exit Slips

Multiple Intelligence/Interest Inventory

Peer or Self-review (on rubrics)


summative assessments
Summative Assessments

are assessments OF learning

What students have learned at the end of instruction (mid-point checks are ok, too!)

- Evaluative

- Reported as a score or grade

- Provide current evidence of understanding/mastery



Performance Tasks

Final Exams

Culminating Projects

Work Portfolios

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

summative assessment plan with the end in mind
Summative Assessment:Plan with the END in Mind

Create the summative assessment to drive instruction when planning

Share assessment plan (rubric, checklist, project, essay test, unit test, presentation) with students at beginning of unit

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

adding assessments to our maps
Adding Assessments to our Maps
  • With an elbow partner or small group of colleagues, review the assessments listed for the performance standards, content, and skills on any one of your District Curriculum Maps (10-15 min)
  • On post-it notes, list any additional quality ideas for formative and summative assessments which will allow students to best demonstrate proficiency
  • Mark your best ideas that you want to use and/or refine this year
  • Share out with the whole group (10 min)

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping


Curriculum Map Template



Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

resources to include on a map

Resources to include on a map

- Adopted instructional materials (math,

reading, writing programs...)

- Technology

- Supplemental materials

- Links to curricular frameworks and other websites



Lesson Cycle for Teachers & Students



Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

rollout of a standards based lesson
Rollout of a Standards-Based Lesson


Step 1: Identify & unwrap standards

Step 2: Plan summative assessment

Step 3: Create Big Idea from key concepts & content

Step 4: Develop Essential Questions to guide instruction &

formative assessments

Step 5: Plan lessons and activities to guide students to Big Idea

Step 6: Introduce Essential Question and lessons & activities to students


Step 1: Engage with Essential Question

Step 2: Take pre-test (formative assessment) & inform of assessment plan

Step 3: Complete lessons, activities, and other formative assessments

Step 4: Discuss the Essential Question throughout the unit of study

Step 5: Complete summative assessment (i.e., answering the Essential Question = the Big Idea)

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

making the district curriculum map meaningful for you
Making the District Curriculum Map meaningful for YOU
  • Meet with colleagues for 20 minutes of discussion and planning time
  • Choose 1 or more sections of the map you’d like to refine for meaningful use this school year
  • Fill out & turn in your Feedback Form when you finish with your planning group session!

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

individual reflection feedback form
Individual Reflection/Feedback Form

Think about the DCM process and next steps in this work:

What squares with me about this

process and work?

What’s still rolling around in my head?

What changes are needed to use the

District Curriculum Map as a pacing

guide in order to build student skills,

content proficiency, & deeper thinking?

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping

next steps
Next Steps

Access supporting documents related to Curriculum Mapping:



If you have any further questions or concerns, email the Curriculum Map Hotline:

Intro to District Curriculum Mapping