Saturday, November 19, 2011

Best Practices in Curriculum and Instruction

I so much enjoyed my first graduate class - Curriculum Design and Evaluation, and want to share some of the big ideas I took from the course.

  •  Do more with less!
What do I mean? Go deeper.


Read one book several times over the course of a few weeks, as opposed to reading it once and moving on to something else. Explore the book inside and out. Retell it in various ways. Discuss it, respond to it, analyze it. Develop a rich experience rather than a superficial one. The students will be engaged in higher order thinking skills and will remember the content.  

Instead of providing several practice problems, provide a few meaningful ones. One word problem in which students have to read, choose a strategy for solving, choose the correct operation, solve the problem and show how they came to their solution tells you a lot more about a child's thinking than a worksheet full of addition problems. 

  • Do not rely solely on published materials!
Why? Although publishers will often claim to "meet the Texas standards," they are not designed solely for Texas. Nor are they designed solely for any one state. With the exception of very few published curriculums (such as CSCOPE), purchased materials may include your state's standards, but ALSO include standards from other states. For example, Texas materials also include Florida, New York and California standards. 

What to do instead:

Based on the wonderful research model of Margaret Kilgo, (if you don't know her, research her!) follow these steps:
1. Identify the goal/objective/standard/student expectation.
2. Identify the verbs to indicate the depth of thinking or doing expected from the student.
3. Identify the nouns for the level of complexity of the concepts.
4. Identify the vocabulary expected to be understood.
5. Ensure the lesson you teach and the practice opportunities meet the student expectation! 

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