Transitioning to Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: How to Bring Content and Process Together

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A cutting-edge model for 21st century curriculum and instruction

Looking for that one transformative moment when a student’s eyes light up, signaling he or she has finally grasped that big idea behind critical academic content? Concept-based curriculum and instruction is a way to make those moments many. H. Lynn Erickson and Lois Lanning offer new insight on:

  • How to design and implement concept-based curriculum and instruction across all subjects and grade levels
  • Why content and process are two equally important aspects of any effective concept-based curriculum
  • How to ensure students develop the all-important skill of synergistic thinking

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas Llewellyn
"With the onset of the Common Core and new national content standards, concept-based learning is now more crucial than ever. Erickson and Lanning are “ahead of the curve” in providing teachers and curriculum leaders with rich instructional strategies to meet these challenging standards. This is an essential book for planning tomorrow’s curricula today."
Carol Ann Tomlinson
"Powerful teaching engages minds with powerful ideas. At its core, such transformative teaching is neither transmission of information nor practice with inert skills. Rather it is a careful choreography between a mind and an idea such that the mind comes to own the idea in a form that is true to the discipline and expansive for the learner. Erickson and Lanning teach teachers to be choreographers of learning—understanding both what makes content worth knowing and how to engage young minds with that content in ways that extend their capacities to understand it at a deep level, use it, transfer it, and ultimately create with it."
Betty Rivinus
"Providing today’s students with the skills to become critical, analytical, and life-long learners is an obligation each teacher must make. The authors present a clear path to transition from fact-based learning curriculum to concept-based curriculum. They have provided us with a clear, researched-based approach to help us advocate at our school and district level to make this critical change in curriculum."
Mrs. Karen Creech
"As educators we all think we understand concept-based curriculum, but those who read this text will have a comprehensive understanding of the meaning and value of concept-based curriculum. This text clearly explains concept-based teaching for the educator to use and develop a change in their teaching to effectively reach and engage students in critical thinking that will enable them to be productive citizens and lifelong learners."
Dr. Carol Spencer
"High school department heads take notice! You will want to read this book with your curriculum supervisor and with your teachers before you re-design your courses to align with the aspirations of the CCSS and NGSS. The curriculum model and specific examples in this book provide you with a clear guide for designing complex, intellectually stimulating curriculum while integrating the new standards."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452290195
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/24/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 324,513
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

H. Lynn Erickson is an independent consultant assisting schools and districts nationally and internationally with curriculum design. From 1987 to 1994, she was the director of curriculum for the Federal Way Public Schools in Federal Way, Washington. She is a recognized presenter at national conferences, and is featured in the video "Creating Concept-Based Curriculum for Deep Understanding" (produced by the Video Journal) as well as in videos from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Her Corwin Press books include Stirring the Head, Heart, and Soul: Redefining Curriculum, Instruction, and Concept-Based Learning(3rd edition);Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom; and Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Beyond the Facts.

Lois Lanning, Ph. D., is an independent consultant and adjunct professor.She was a classroom teacher, K-12 reading consultant, special education teacher, elementary school principal, district curriculum director, adjunct professor, and finally, an assistant superintendent of schools for the last 12 years of her career in public schools.

Dr. Lanning is a certified Trainer-of-Trainers and Concept-based Curriculum Specialist with Dr. Lynn Erickson. She presents and works with districts at the international, national and state levels in the areas of literacy and concept-based curriculum design. Lois is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. In addition to writing professional articles and teacher resources, Lois is also the author of the bestselling book, Four Powerful Strategies for Struggling Readers Grades 3-8: Small Group Instruction that Improves Comprehension, a joint publication between Corwin Press and the International Reading Association, c. 2009, Designing a Concept-based Curriculum in English Language Arts: Meeting the Common Core with Intellectual Integrity, K-12. Corwin Press, c. 2013, and a chapter in The Best of Corwin: Differentiated Instruction in Literacy, Math, and Science, Leslie Laud, Editor, c. 201, Corwin Press.

Lois’ hobbies include reading, biking, hiking, and traveling. Lois currently lives in Avon, Connecticut with her husband. She has two children and two young grandsons, Christopher and Ryan, whom she absolutely adores.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Malcolm Nicolson
About the Authors
Purpose of the Book
Chapter Overview
Chapter 1. Curriculum Design: From an Objectives-Based to a Concept-Based Model
A Short Retrospective, From the Authors, on Educational Swings
The Value of Know, Understand, and Able to Do in Concept-Based Models
Problems With Traditional Content Objectives
Discussion Questions
Chapter 2. Two-Dimensional Versus Three-Dimensional Curriculum Models
Contrasting the Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Models
Introducing the Structures of Knowledge and Process
The Interplay of Process and Knowledge
Contrasting Instructional Descriptions
Discussion Questions
Chapter 3. The Structure of Knowledge
Understanding the Relationships in the Structure of Knowledge
How the Structure of Knowledge Guides Curriculum Design
Designing Disciplinary Curriculum Frameworks at the National, State, or Local Levels
Mathematics as a Concept-Driven Discipline
Examples of Concepts and Subject-Specific Generalizations
Discussion Questions
Chapter 4. The Structure of Process
The Structure of Process
How the Structure of Process Guides Curriculum and Instruction
Discussion Questions
Chapter 5. The Developing Concept-Based Teacher
Bridging the Gaps Between Knowing, Doing, and Understanding
Collaborative Concept-Based Lesson Planning
Common Terminology Used to Describe Quality Instruction
The Developing Concept-Based Teacher
Do The Developing Concept-Based Teacher Rubrics Have a Place in Teacher Evaluation Plans?
Discussion Questions
Chapter 6. The Developing Concept-Based Student
What About Thinking?
The Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Concept-Based Teaching and Learning
Developing Critical Thinking
The Developing Concept-Based Student
Why These Categories?
Discussion Questions
Chapter 7. What Do Teachers Need to Understand About Concept-Based Pedagogy?
The What and Why of Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction
The How of Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction
Four Critical Aspects of Concept-Based Pedagogy
Quality Pedagogy
Concept-Based Classrooms
Discussion Questions
Chapter 8. What Do Principals and Instructional Coaches Need to Understand? Implementing and Sustaining Concept-Based Curricular and Instructional Models in Schools
Setting the Stage for Curriculum Implementation
Staff Development
Staff Support With Accountability: Building System-Wide Synergy
The Collection and Analysis of the "Right" Data
Discussion Questions
Chapter 9. What Do District Leaders Need to Understand About Concept-Based Curriculum Designs?
District Leaders Discuss Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction
Discussion Questions
Chapter 10. Summary and the Road Ahead
Curriculum and Instruction: The Warp
Concept-Based Learning: The Weft
The Path Forward
Discussion Questions
Resource A. Concept-Based Mathematics Unit
Resource B. Concept-Based Science Unit
Resource C. Concept-Based Art Unit
Resource D. Concept-Based World Language Unit
Resource E. Concept-Based Music Unit
Resource F. Adapted Learning Activities for Chapter 7

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