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Curriculum Mapping Within and Beyond Learning Expeditions

Topic

This document provides EL Education schools with big picture guidance regarding an effective and efficient approach to curriculum mapping, both within and beyond expeditions.

The term “curriculum mapping” often refers interchangeably to both the strategic backward planning of when particular standards will be addressed and the subsequent documentation of those planning decisions[1]. In any conversation about mapping, it is crucial that all participants are clear whether the term is being used in the “design” sense (planning) or the “documentation” sense (paperwork). Intentional design should precede systematic documentation. (Note, too, that both design and documentation are distinct from a basic “audit” of current state.)

Why Create Curriculum Maps

  • EL Education schools backwards plan and then document curriculum in order to elevate the quality and streamline the process of building
  • engaging, purposeful learning experiences for students (both within and beyond learning expeditions) and to increase teacher clarity around teaching purpose and standards alignment.
  • The goal of curriculum mapping is to ensure that a school has made intentional decisions about how to address all standards (across a school year, given the school structure, schedule, and priorities) in the most effective manner for students. Not all standards can or should be given equal weight: staff must collaborate to agree upon priorities and where to go deep.
  • Schools with strong curriculum planning and documentation are able to refine the quality of learning expeditions, projects, and other curriculum from year to year, staying true to thoughtfully created maps and standards-targets-assessment plans while making small adjustments based on student assessment data and feedback from reflection protocols.
  • By minimizing the amount of time spent on building and refining curriculum each year, schools can shift their professional learning time from conversations centered on what we are teaching to conversations about what students are learning.
  • Having a well-documented curriculum can ease the transition for incoming teachers and reduce the impact of the transition on students.
  • Having clarity about the big picture before diving into the details supports a more efficient curriculum design process. Curriculum maps provide a “year-at-a-glance” view of content, skills and concepts, products, and expedition topics at the school level, and for each teacher/course.

Download this resource to read the full text.

[1] See Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. ASCD 2009. Jacobs refers to curriculum mapping as “a procedure for collecting and maintaining a database of the operational curriculum in a school or district” (Page 1).

Topic

This document provides EL Education schools with big picture guidance regarding an effective and efficient approach to curriculum mapping, both within and beyond expeditions.

The term “curriculum mapping” often refers interchangeably to both the strategic backward planning of when particular standards will be addressed and the subsequent documentation of those planning decisions[1]. In any conversation about mapping, it is crucial that all participants are clear whether the term is being used in the “design” sense (planning) or the “documentation” sense (paperwork). Intentional design should precede systematic documentation. (Note, too, that both design and documentation are distinct from a basic “audit” of current state.)

Why Create Curriculum Maps

  • EL Education schools backwards plan and then document curriculum in order to elevate the quality and streamline the process of building
  • engaging, purposeful learning experiences for students (both within and beyond learning expeditions) and to increase teacher clarity around teaching purpose and standards alignment.
  • The goal of curriculum mapping is to ensure that a school has made intentional decisions about how to address all standards (across a school year, given the school structure, schedule, and priorities) in the most effective manner for students. Not all standards can or should be given equal weight: staff must collaborate to agree upon priorities and where to go deep.
  • Schools with strong curriculum planning and documentation are able to refine the quality of learning expeditions, projects, and other curriculum from year to year, staying true to thoughtfully created maps and standards-targets-assessment plans while making small adjustments based on student assessment data and feedback from reflection protocols.
  • By minimizing the amount of time spent on building and refining curriculum each year, schools can shift their professional learning time from conversations centered on what we are teaching to conversations about what students are learning.
  • Having a well-documented curriculum can ease the transition for incoming teachers and reduce the impact of the transition on students.
  • Having clarity about the big picture before diving into the details supports a more efficient curriculum design process. Curriculum maps provide a “year-at-a-glance” view of content, skills and concepts, products, and expedition topics at the school level, and for each teacher/course.

Download this resource to read the full text.

[1] See Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. ASCD 2009. Jacobs refers to curriculum mapping as “a procedure for collecting and maintaining a database of the operational curriculum in a school or district” (Page 1).

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