“The job of teaching is not to ‘execute’ the paper curriculum irrespective of results, any more than it is the coach’s job to execute the playbook irrespective of the score. The teacher’s job is to flesh out the lessons in the curriculum and adjust instruction, whenever needed, to ensure optimal learning and performance. Given that purpose, teachers need a curriculum that provides troubleshooting advice and builds in opportunities to alter courses, as warranted.”
– Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins
Instead of buying a planned curriculum, how can teachers first see curriculum as an opportunity to craft and curate the experience? How can we avoid pacing curriculum by date and time?
“On March 22, everybody must be on the same page at the same time.“
Our students are different.
We must begin to see our curriculum through that lens. What are we hoping to guarantee as a part of the story or storyline? Where can teachers continue to flesh out curriculum based on their own ideas, personalities, and through co-creating with their students?
It is important that we continue to be mindful of the student’s needs in an on demand way, making instructional choices that are related to that effect.
In February, Mike Schmoker wrote an education leadership article contending that locally-developed curriculum should be the primary area of focus to get an achievement bump. Mike’s stance is evidence-based, based on what he’s been collecting and analyzing over the course of many years.
“Aside from quality phonics programs, I’m not a fan of prepackaged (or agenda-driven) curriculum products,” writes Schmoker. “Even the so-called ‘best’ of these are too long on skills, multiple-choice exercises, worksheets, and literary trivia (like craft, structure, and symbolism).
“Leaders with highly praised curriculum programs have admitted to me privately that their programs need to be modified considerably and supplemented with more purposeful reading, discussion, and writing (Schmoker, 2019).”
An article written by Heidi and I appeared in that same ASCD issue.
“We know that stories have a special place in the hearts and minds of learners and have the power to evoke fascination, curiosity, wonderment, and action,” we open with. “Educators often tell stories to enliven instructional content and hook and hold student attention. But what if storytelling could be leveraged to frame an entire course?”
We go on to outline our Curriculum Storyboards process, our 30,000-foot view of a given course framed as a narrative or storyline. The concept is more than simply a template, it is the streamlining of curriculum to make it exciting, engaging, and easy to digest.