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Curriculum



 The Coherent Curriculum: Integrating and Connecting Learning


In the process of using a comprehensive inventory, participants, work with specific models that shape the integration of the curricula in myriad ways.  Included in the models are ways to prioritize curricular concerns, methods for sequencing and mapping curricular content, templates for webbing themes across the disciplines, techniques for threading life skills into all content areas and ways to immerse students in content that is self-selected and personally relevant. By integrating the curriculum, teachers are compelled to “cluster” content an process standards into meaningful, purposeful authentic performance tasks.


How to Integrate the Curricula


In the process of using a comprehensive inventory, participants, work with specific models that shape the integration of the curricula in myriad ways.  Included in the models are ways to prioritize curricular concerns, methods for sequencing and mapping curricular content, templates for webbing themes across the disciplines, techniques for threading life skills into all content areas and ways to immerse students in content that is self-selected and personally relevant. By integrating the curriculum, teachers are compelled to “cluster” content and process standards into meaningful, purposeful authentic, performance tasks.


Integrating Big Ideas that Thread the Curricula


Find the nuggets embedded throughout the curriculum for making connections within and across the disciplines. In this highly interactive workshop, participants discover simple templates to use as they thread higher order thinking skills and robust concepts into every area of the curricula.  Using these user-friendly strategies, teacher teams leave the session with simple tools to create a more connected curriculum. In turn, students benefit as they see explicit connections within, between and across subject matter content.


Problem Based Learning


By framing learning around authentic, real world problems, students are challenged in relevant and meaningful ways.  Experience the problem based learning approach to inquiry learning and inviting investigations.  Walk through the steps that include: meeting and defining the problem; gathering facts and data; hypothesizing and researching; generating alternatives; and advocating solutions. Learn to use the stakeholder role as the key to student involvement with these statements: “You are…?  You will…” and watch your curriculum come to life.


Standards of Learning: Design with the End in Mind


The standards are not the curriculum!  Standards are the goals of the curriculum. To meet the overwhelming number of student learning standards, the use of robust and rigorous performance tasks are needed.  In this session, participants will explore the idea of designing learning with the end in mind. It is a process as simple as 1,2,3.  One! Standards as the goals of curriculum. Two! Performance Tasks to provide the evidence of learning.  Three! Scoring Rubrics for judging of the quality of learning.  Learn how to implement these three simple steps to create rich, relevant and real-life learning for the K-12 classroom.  Leave with the tools for immediate, back-home use.


Thematic Instruction


"We Deliver", was a brilliant elementary school theme that paralleled a promotion sponsored by the US Postal System. Writing across the curriculum was the primary focus, yet every discipline became integrated into the overall theme. Each classroom, in addition to writing and corresponding on a daily basis, designed it’s own postage stamp, disseminated its own mail from the classroom mailbox and provided weekly workers for the sorting tasks in school post office. Students played the national anthem on the recorders in music class; they learned about languages from around the world; they created maps, postal zones and calculated costs about mail service and postal office budgets.  With a big idea as the central theme, the curriculum came alive for these youngsters as they used their learning in real and relevant ways.

Topics (space), concepts (structures), events (visiting artist), projects (science fair), novels (The Phantom Tollbooth), films (Around the World in 80 Days) and songs (Scarborough Fair), provide the fodder for finding rich, robust and relevant themes. Used as umbrella themes for re-conceptualizing and re-organizing curriculum, these big ideas create a cohesive and cogent pattern for curriculum planning. Six steps that create the acronym, THEMES, are developed, as participants begin to design exciting thematic units for k8 classrooms.
Think of themes
Hone the list
Extrapolate the criteria
Manipulate the theme
Expand into activities
Select goals and assessments
Participants begin with a "big idea theme" and end with a billowing umbrella of learning activities that cluster the content standards into authentic, lively learning scenarios. Students begin with authentic learning models and leave with deep understandings about the concepts and skills embedded in the thematic unit.


Technology: A Learning Tool and a Teaching Tool


Technology creates a dynamic duo as a professional learning tool and as a powerful
teaching tool. On one hand, technology empowers teachers as learners with online
professional development courses. On the other hand, technology enhances classroom
instruction for increased student achievement.

Online Professional Development (OPD) is a friend to teachers for a number of reasons:
•    Most states require teachers to earn continuing education units
•    OPD is flexible, convenient, and cost effective
•    Teachers prefer an learning
•    With choices, teachers have “buy in”.
Online options for classroom instruction offer significant student benefits:
•    Reinforcement for flexible skill groups
•    Research tools for classroom investigations
•    Integrating tools for classroom projects 
•    Preparation tools for polished presentations



Technology Walks the Data Talk


Understanding the role of assessment data in determining appropriate instructional strategies is the challenge of this generation of teachers. Learn a simple, effective process that focuses the “data dialogue” toward productive problem solving. Framed by three research-based components of managed data, meaningful teams and measurable goals, teachers address four critical questions: What? What else? So, what? Now, what? Leave this interactive session with the tools and the confident about data-driven instruction.
•    Technology-Managed Data
•    What Data?
•    Meaningful Team Dialogues
•    What Else Do We Know? Need to Know
•    Measurable Student Goals
•    SMART GOALS