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

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9781416614906: Upgrade Your Curriculum: Practical Ways to Transform Units and Engage Students
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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.

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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 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.

About the Author:

Janet Hale is an educational consultant and trainer who specializes in curriculum mapping and travels extensively to work with rural, urban, and inner-city learning organizations. She enjoys assisting newcomers to the curriculum mapping model; supporting implementation procedures; aiding struggling initiatives; and advising those ready for advanced mapping. Her experiences as an elementary, middle, and high school teacher combined with a Masters Degree in Leadership and Curriculum are an asset when helping teachers and administrators just starting or already engaged in the mapping process.

Since 1988 Janet has developed a variety of national educational seminars and trainings. She has written an assortment of educational supplementary materials and has presented in conferences sponsored by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the International Reading Association, and the Association of Christian Schools International.

Janet resides in Tucson, Arizona, where she enjoys bird, reptile, and wild animal watching in her backyard with her husband, Johnny, and their four-legged Schnauzer children. She can be contacted via e-mail at teachtucson@aol.com or by phone at 520-241-8797. You may also enjoy visiting her Web site, www.CurriculumMapping101.com.

MICHAEL FISHER is Robert S. Danforth Professor of History, Oberlin College, USA. His most recent book is Counterflows to Colonialism: Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain, 1600-1857 (2004).

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