Saturday, November 14, 2009

Curriculum Work Progresses - 11/13/09

Standards Work and Curriculum Mapping

It probably seems for teachers that their Curriculum work is never done, and in reality to be done correctly that is a fact. Social Studies, Art, and Library teachers across the Earlham Schools are working hard to identify the "Must Haves" for their programs, in education we refer to these types of items as "Standards". Standards are the guiding principles for the program, those things that once a student has completed the coursework they will have the skills to perform the tasks. These tasks look different for different grade levels - Kindergarten, Third grade, Middle School, and High School classes all may teach students about their community, but the expectations for students to reach the skills of a standard are very different. These are called "Benchmarks".

Why is this relevant to the Curriculum work being done in Earlham? Each year a different group of instructional areas go through Curriculum Review, reviewing their purpose statement, the standards for the core area, and their benchmarks. For this year Social Studies, Art, and Library are in the midst of this process. The groups meet once a month (first Monday) to discuss their "homework" for the month and answer any questions about procedures and the expected outcomes. Our next meeting will be Monday, December 7 at 3:25.

Teachers in the second year of the review cycle (Year 2) are inputting their curriculum content into a curriculum mapping software. This software allows us to analyze the content of classes and we can identify areas of need within our standards and benchmarks. The software is not new to our district, but we have not utilized it to the full extent possible. As teachers cycle through the 6 year Curriculum process they will be utilizing this tool as a historical document. Because of the amount of turnover our district typically experiences having historical records of what has been taught and when it was taught is a very important step. We will now have data for new teachers to our district, to show the way things have been taught ( the order of the year) and allow them to focus on instruction, and not curriculum development.