Curriculum has been on my mind lately. I was chatting with some friends and I was telling them about my previois district where we went from empty binders and ‘canned copies’ of curriculum to an interactive experience that follows the format of the NJ model curriculum. Some see curriculum as just a bunch of words, others see it as Gospel. As an administrator, I see curriculum as a path towards an expectation of success. When I was teaching, I saw it more as path with a definitive starting and finishing line.
As education progresses and we have more available to us (thankfully, due to being connected educators), we are able to create curriculum that is achievable measurable, and attainable. We can make curriculum breathe thanks to cloud software and online infusion. Most importantly, we can access the curriculum, in real time, and share what works and what doesn’t.
Looking for an activity to meet that strand in the curriculum? There’s an app for that. Or a website. Or someone who’s done it. Or someone who will tell you to avoid it.
There is no excuse for all curricula to meet three important criteria today:
- Bold. Curriculum should be bold for those who experience it, and even those who write it. It should embrace your goals and highlight superb activities that reinforce the strands. It should be exciting, yes I said it, exciting for learners. It can be, but it has to start with the ones who write it / revise it.
- Diverse. I’m a broken record when I say, “it’s 2015, gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all t-shirt”. The curriculum that you are teaching should be reflective of every learner in your classroom. Sure, some are misplaced students (some need to be a grade lower, some need to be a grade higher), but every student in there should have access to the curriculum that’s both differentiated and goal oriented.
- Creative. Great teachers can turn lemons into lemonade, over and over. No matter how boring some curriculum is (and yes, it’s in every district), you can spice it up, every time. Use your PLN! Use Twitter! Use Pinterest! USE WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET CREATIVE!
Don’t let that curriculum lead you down a path of compliance, boredom, and misery. Join the BDC. You, and your students, will be happy that you did.