Education has a back-end and a front-end. We are all familiar with the front-end of education, the classroom. It is the place where a teacher pulls together resources for learning, instructional decisions are made around the needs of each child, students are creatively engaged in learning, information is explored and discovered and student success and achievement is documented. The back-end of education is less visible and includes everything this blog series has been talking about to this point. It is the development, documentation, implementation, tracking and communication of curriculum. It is the collection of data about each child’s learning preferences and interests, such that classroom instruction is as individualized and engaging as possible.
Aligned curriculum means that you decide what students should know and be able to do, break the goal down into measurable learning targets, choose the way to evaluate achievement, identify how to define various levels of achievement, offer resources and learning options that match the learning target and then document and report progress. Report cards need to use the same standards based language with which the teachers started the entire curriculum process. How???
It is in the hands of each classroom teacher to implement the standards, meet achievement goals, and create a modern classroom environment while engaging and motivating students. To be successful rather than overwhelmed, a teacher needs tools for quick access to instructional information, deep understanding of the learning preferences of students in their classroom and lesson design strategies that grab the attention and meet the needs of the modern learner. To accomplish this a teacher will need instructional information specific to the students in their classroom coupled with triangulated communication between teacher, student and parent about standards, assessment, achievement and learning preferences.
The big question in modern lesson design: Do you (the teacher) define the goals, establish evaluation criteria and provide resources while the students own the learning process and have choice in how they will show understanding?
One of the primary goals of education is to produce a learner. A successful learner is one that can self-direct the acquisition of skills and knowledge and demonstrate competency in real-world settings. Guiding a student to be a successful learner is the primary role of a teacher. Standards-based education focuses knowledge acquisition and defines competency. Once a standard has been placed in the curriculum, the next step is to create common assessment products and rubrics for evaluation. The goals is to norm the definition of competency across classrooms, focus the instruction and gain the ability to communicate expectations clearly. Developing common assessments and rubrics is a group project, a rewarding process and one of the most important professional tasks of teachers. The process involves 7 steps:
Setting a goal for the learner has always been the first step of instruction. Formal curriculum mapping begins with what the student should know and be able to do and the modern classroom is no different from the classrooms of history in this regard. Yet, the expectations and characteristics of modern instruction has changed and so must the methods for implementing standards-based curriculum mapping.
This blog post is the outline for a 6 part series that is not a conversation about the debate of what standards, whose standards or how many standards. It is about the characteristics of implementing uniform standards-based curriculum. It is about using a foundation of standards-based curriculum to create a modern classroom with teaching autonomy, self-directed learning, collaboration and the integration of varied resources and technologies.
Search the topic student engagement and hundreds of resources are returned. The opinions are plentiful and there is agreement that engaging students’ interest, focus and energy is the primary issue in effective teaching and learning. Okay, now what? Each student walks in the classroom with a unique set of interests, preferences for learning, level of achievement, personal goals du jour, and rewards that would inspire action.
Technology in education is valuable and expected by everyone. It can be used as a results driven tool, a way to add multi-media interest to lessons, an entertainment medium while it may also grab scarce time and create a budgetary dependence. While educators and parents (with enough time) can find thousands of free resources and tools to support and provide education, education technology businesses are popping up in record numbers. How to decide what returns a value? I offer this checklist as a guide.