Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students

Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students

Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students

Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students

Synopsis

Amid a confluence of messages regarding accountability, the Common Core State Standards, teacher effectiveness, and student performance, educators everywhere are looking for ways to revitalize their curriculum design and instructional practice. Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students offers a solution: providing students with meaningful, relevant units of study developed by the educators who actually teach them. The authors, both curriculum experts, advocate a gradual approach to transforming curriculum in which teachers work collaboratively to upgrade one unit at a time.

Drawing from a wealth of professional development experiences in schools across the United States and overseas, the authors

• Address the foundational concepts involved in transforming curriculum.

• Introduce their innovative transformational matrix --an essential visual reference that classifies upgrades according to their effect on student learning and engagement.

• Outline the four phases of the collaborative transformational process: appraisal and brainstorming, commitment and communication, reactions and reflections, and revisions.

• Explain how to create units of study that engage students in higher-order thinking, authentically incorporate technology and web-based tools, and align with the Common Core.

• Present transformational snapshots that reflect how real practitioners across all grade levels and subject areas have upgraded curriculum and instruction and increased student ownership of learning.

If we view curriculum and assessment choices as indicators of the direction in which our students are heading, most of us would agree that they're currently traveling back to the 20th century. Clearly, we need to collectively step up our curriculum. This indispensable guide offers strategic, practical knowledge that will enrich your school's curriculum mapping efforts and help you create authentic, engaging learning environments that prepare students for the future.

Excerpt

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
—Helen Keller

Have you ever had a chance meeting with someone who ended up dramatically influencing your life? This was the case with us. Janet was hired to aid a district in its curriculum mapping initiative. Mike was working for a local educational service center and had been asked to attend the district training day as a technology specialist for the district’s mapping software.

Janet: During lunch, a few teachers and administrators, Mike, and I sat
around a table and discussed everything from educational issues and current
events to favorite movies and childhood experiences. I found Mike knowledge
able regardless of the topic, but most of all, I found him funny. He told a child
hood story that literally made me laugh out loud.

Mike: When I first met Janet on the training day, I had been involved in cur
riculum mapping initiatives, but I primarily focused on the technology. Hon
estly I felt intimidated by her knowledge of mapping. I had no idea at the time
that she felt intimidated by my knowledge of technology and web-based tools.

About two weeks after the training day, I Janet) read an online cartoon that reminded me of Mike’s humorous childhood memoir. I e-mailed the cartoon to . . .

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