Curriculum Writing 2013 (2)

Writing a Usable
and Working Curriculum
Background with Step-byStep Guidance
Curriculum Planning
"To begin with the end in mind means
to start with a clear understanding of
your destination. It means to know
where you’re going so that you better
understand where you are now so
that the steps you take are always in
the right direction." (Covey, 1994)
Curriculum Planning
• Curriculum Planning is a process
• How should you approach curriculum
What is in an Ideal
Curriculum Document?
Ideal Curriculum Document
Learning Targets (benchmarks)
Common Assessments--Benchmark and
Summative; Formative assessments or
Instructional Resources
Modifications for differentiation
Scope and Sequence – Order
Units of Study
Pacing Recommendations – Curriculum Map
Research Findings
Source: “Hiding in Plain Sight” article
• Robert Marzano’s metanalytic studies
indicate that:
– A decent, guaranteed curriculum may be
the single largest in-school factor that
affects learning.
• David Conley adds that:
– Common curriculum means very little
without clearly specified parameters for
how much reading and writing will be
required in each course.
Research Findings
• Mike Schmoker (writer, speaker, and
consultant) outlines three “first things first”
approach to helping ALL students be college
and career ready:
– Massively increase the amount of purposeful
reading, writing and discussion.
– Create and ensure the implementation of decent,
coherent curriculum.
– Ensure each lesson has clear, curriculum-based
learning targets identified, multiple segments
taught in short cycles of instruction, and frequent
checks for engagement/understanding by all
students before moving on.
Looking at Specifics
Using The 4 PLC Questions
in Curriculum Planning
A PLC is always focused on student
learning. When writing curriculum these
questions become part of the discussion:
1. What is it that we want all students to learn?
(Learning Targets Include both content standards
and CCSS)
2. How will we know when each student has acquired
the essential knowledge and skills? (Assessments)
3. What happens when students do not learn it?
(Intervention Plan)
4. What happens when student have learned it?
(Extensions and Enrichment)
Understanding by Design (UbD)
• It’s a way of thinking purposefully
about curricular plan. It’s not a
• Developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay
• End goal: Be able to connect, make
sense of, and use discrete knowledge
and skills in context.
• Planning is best done backward from
the desired results.
UbD: The Backward Design Model
The backward design model is comprised of
the following three stages:
1. Identify desired results
– What do students need to know and be able
to do?
2. Determine acceptable evidence
– How are students going to be able to
demonstrate that they know and can do it?
3. Plan learning experiences and
– How are students going to learn and what do
they need to be able to do?
UBD Visual
Identify desired
- What do students
need to know and
be able to do?
Looking for Guidance in Writing
Learning Targets
So Where Do You Start?
• Start with:
– Reviewing existing courses – are you
spending time on the right things?
• Recommendations from your self study
• Your national/state standards
• Common Core standards for ELA
• 21st Century expectations
– Outlining new courses – are you planning
to fill a gap based on needs or goals
Learning Targets
• They can recur--and should recur--in
professional work, adult life, as well as in the
classroom (Reeves:leverage).
• They should provide a purpose for learning
(Daggett:relevance; Reeves:endurance).
• They are often higher-order, in Bloom's &
DOK sense: they consist of analysis,
synthesis, and evaluative judgment. You
must “go beyond” the information given
• They provide the necessary knowledge or
skill needed for the next level (Reeves:readiness).
Your Standards
Common Core Standards
• Common Core Standards for ELA
– Pages 60-66
21st Century Skills
• Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Developing the Cognitive
Rigor Matrix
Different states/schools/teachers use different models
describe cognitive rigor. Each addresses something
• Bloom –What type of thinking (verbs) is needed to
complete a task?
• Webb –How deeply do you have to understand the
content to successfully interact with it? How complex
is the content?
Bloom’s Taxonomy [1956 ] &
Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimensions [2005]
Knowledge—Define, duplicate, label, list,
name, order, recognize, relate, recall
Remember—Retrieve knowledge from longterm memory, recognize, recall, locate,
Comprehension—Classify, describe, discuss,
explain, express, identify, indicate, locate
recognize, report, review, select, translate
Understand—Construct meaning, clarify,
paraphrase, represent, translate, illustrate,
give examples, classify, categorize,
summarize, generalize, predict…
Application—Apply, choose, demonstrate,
dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret,
practice, write
Apply—Carry out or use a procedure in a
given situation; carry out or use/apply to an
unfamiliar task
Analysis—Analyze, appraise, explain,
calculate, categorize, compare, criticize
discriminate, examine
Analyze—Break into constituent parts,
determine how parts relate
Synthesis—Rearrange, assemble, collect,
compose, create, design, develop, formulate,
manage, write
Evaluate—Make judgments based on
criteria, check, detect
inconsistencies/fallacies, critique
Evaluation—Appraise, argue, assess, choose,
compare, defend, estimate, explain, judge,
Create—Put elements together to form a
coherent whole, reorganize elements into
DOK Level 1-
Recall and Reproduction
• Simple procedures and/or formulas
• Recall of a fact, term, principle, concept, or perform a routine
• Students either know the information or they
• There is a correct answer
DOK Level 2 _
Basic Application of Skills/Concepts
• Use of information & conceptual knowledge
• Select appropriate procedures for a task, two or more
steps with decision points along the way
• Routine problems, organize/display data, interpret/use
simple graphs
• Involves the engagement of some mental processing
beyond recall
• Requires students to make some decisions about
• Usually one correct answer
DOK Level 3- Strategic Thinking
• Requires deep understanding and the use of higher-order
thinking skills
• Requires reasoning, developing a plan or sequence of steps to
approach problem
• Requires some decision making and justification abstract,
complex, or non-routine
• Stating one’s reasoning is a key marker
• Requires coordination of knowledge and skill from multiple
subject-matter areas
• More than one possible answer
DOK Level 4 - Extended Thinking
• Students are expected to make connections within the
content and solve real-world problems
• An investigation or application to real world
• Requires time to research, problem solve, and process
multiple conditions of the problem or task
• Employ and sustain strategic thinking processes over a
longer period of time
• Non-routine manipulations, across disciplines/content
areas/multiple sources
• More than one possible answer
DOK is about complexity—
not difficulty!
• The intended student learning outcome
determines the DOK level. What mental
processing must occur?
• While verbs may appear to point to a DOK level, it
is what comes after the verb that is the best
indicator of the rigor/DOK level.
– Describe the physical features of a plant.
– Describe how the two political parties are alike and
– Describe the most significant effect of WWII on the
nations of Europe.
Other Components
Evidence of Learning: Assessments
• What would be sufficient and revealing
evidence of understanding?
• What performance tasks support the unit
and learning outcomes?
• How will I be able to distinguish between
those who really understand and those
who don’t (though they may seem to)?
Types of Assessments
• Summative – assessment of learning (end of
unit, course)
• Formative – assessment for learning; informs
• Benchmark – A benchmark is the target at
any particular time. A benchmark assessment
can measure where a student is in relation to
the set target. Results may be monitored
throughout the year, course.
More assessment related terms
• Common assessment – an assessment given by two
or more instructors with the intention of
collaboratively examining the results for
instructional planning for individual students and
curriculum instruction, and/or assessment
• Screening – an assessment at beginning of new
learning or beginning of the year; used to identify
students who may be “at risk” of a poor outcome
• Progress Monitoring – assessing students often and
quickly to determine growth from additional
supports and intervention
Activities and Strategies
• What would be interesting and engaging activities
on this topic?
• What resources and materials are available on this
• What will students be doing in and out of class?
• What assignments will be given?
• How will I give students a grade (and justify it to
• Did the activities work? Why or why not?
Other Components
• Vocabulary
• Resources
Ready, Set, Go

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