Curriculum Storyboards is Rooted in Streamlining


“Every year more and more is packed into the school year with almost no evidence of cutting back. Both teachers and learners feel overwhelmed. The pandemic exacerbated the problem. Coverage. Coverage. Coverage. No wonder there has been a sense of curricular fatigue reported by teachers.” Allison Zmuda & Heidi Hayes Jacobs, “Streamlining Curriculum”

The Curriculum Storyboards template is much more than just a model.

It is streamlining.

In fact, Allison and I titled our upcoming book “Streamlining Curriculum” because streamlining is the heart of storyboarding. Streamlining is about getting to the core of what matters most. Streamlining is about hitting the refresh button and giving form a lift.  Storyboarding is definitely an engaging lift.

Our initiative is to help school leadership work with a curriculum that is oversaturated and bloated, assisting teachers in what they intend to communicate to their students and also how they communicate it. The “how” is where the storyboarding template comes in.

Every year, we pack and pack and pack more into our curriculum. The pandemic exacerbated the problem. Covering all that is required has been and continues to be a relentless challenge. We want to avoid slippage into coverage by continuing to simply add more. 

Instead, we have to step back and begin to make choices about streamlining

The notion here is twofold:

  1. What are we going to make choices about?
  2. How can we help teams of educators make cogent and purposeful decisions for their specific learners? 

Each school team is confronting a curriculum conundrum as they determine what their specific student population needs given the demands of standards, requirements and growth in fields of study. It is tough because the calendar is the same, but knowledge keeps growing. 

What can guide their decision making? How do we stay true to what our learners need to prepare them for the future? And most importantly, isn’t it time that we convey all curriculum directly to our students? 

We know that – with good intentions – there is wonderful work happening, such as the profile of the graduate or work with admissions. How do we operationalize that excellent work into a streamlined and clearly communicated curriculum?

Our work on streamlining lays out a clear set of procedures for teams to determine what to cut out, cut back, consolidate and create.  It is reckoning with choice making.  Our work on storyboarding shifts the focus to connected, clear and engaging curriculum writing in a format that is accessible and motivating for learners.  

This process is in place so that our learners understand precisely what’s going on and to interact and contribute to curriculum development in partnership with their teachers. It is important that curriculum not be a script, but becomes a dynamic and living set of learning experiences.

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