Thursday, April 14, 2011

Curriculum development: Micro-scale.

First I have to mention the article I read recently from class, where they talk about the definition of the word "curriculum." They raise an interesting point because the idea of a "common core curriculum" implies different things to different people.  Many people think that curriculum is "a lean set of big ideas that can be tackled in many ways." For others, it's the textbook for that course that represents the curriculum. Still others think that a common curriculum will be "scripted, day-to-day lesson plan[s]."

I find the last definition of curriculum absolutely horrifying. Do people really think that a common core curriculum would result in complete loss of control? The article goes on to point out that it would be ludicrous to create scripted lessons and leave out any teacher input. President of the Common Core organization in Washington, D.C. Lynne Munson said, "we would be fools to create materials in a process that doesn’t draw on the tremendous wisdom of a public-review process.”

So I stand on the side of common core curriculum that thinks of it as a "town common," like a place where everyone meets and collaborates. I have a lot of control in my classroom as far as curriculum goes, too. If someone came into my biology class to tell me, "you're teaching this now," I think I'd be pretty upset! In general though, because I have relatively "new" training in education, I can mold my lessons to fit into whatever curriculum or standards I am supposed to be teaching.

Adjusting to the common core standards in my classroom will be the next time I have to "make curriculum changes." A large part of the common core standards is L-I-T-E-R-A-C-Y as it relates to college and career readiness. Many of my lessons include some funky literacy strategies, but I think some need work. I'd have to paw through them, looking at literacy strategy books and websites (like, a new one we discovered this week). I can think of several units that start with an engaging "hook" that I could wrap into a literacy strategy such as an "Anticipation Guide." I would talk with my PIT group too, getting some ideas and suggestions on how to improve it before I implement it. I'd have to make sure it fits in well too, and isn't just in the curriculum to "be there."

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