Curriculum at Your Core: Meaningful Teaching in the Age of Standards

Curriculum at Your Core: Meaningful Teaching in the Age of Standards

by Lauren Porosoff


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Curriculum at Your Core is a practical guide to designing curriculum that meets standards, serves personal and institutional values, and intentionally leads to successful student learning. Identifying which understandings, knowledge, and skills are "most important" for students to learn is always a question of values, so getting clear on values gives teachers a starting place to design cohesive units, courses, and programs. Written by a teacher for teachers, Curriculum at Your Core includes stories, examples, and case studies from across grade levels and subjects, as well as exercises, protocols, and templates teachers can use when writing values-congruent curriculum. Some key features include:

1.Stories of failures and successes in designing curriculum.
2.Metaphors from everyday life to help teachers understand curriculum design as a process rooted in values and culminating in meaningful learning.
3.Examples of essential questions, assessment guidelines, lesson calendars, unit plans, and curriculum maps.
4.Exercises and templates teachers can use to create and assess curriculum.
5.Protocols designed to encourage inclusive participation and critical reflection when colleagues look at curriculum together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475813111
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/19/2014
Pages: 139
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Lauren Porosoff has been a teacher for 14 years, has served as a diversity coordinator and a grade-level team leader, and has led a school-wide curriculum mapping initiative. She regularly supports teachers and administrators in crafting assignments, designing curriculum review processes, and planning professional development.

Table of Contents

Curriculum at Your Core: Meaningful Teaching in the Age of Standards
Preface: The Values That Guided This Book
Acknowledgments: The Evolution of a Values-Congruent Book
Introduction: Why Values?
·Curriculum That Serves Multiple Sets of Values
·A Place at the Table: Your Values and the Standards
·Using This Book
Chapter 1: Clarifying the Values that Guide Your Teaching oWhy Values?
oWhat Values Are (and Aren't)
oA Place at the Table: Your Values and the Standards oClarifying Your Values as a Teacher oMaking Values Statements oRendering Values from Academic Documents oAvoiding Your Values oBarriers to Teaching By Your Values
§Getting Stuck in Self-Limiting Beliefs
§Avoiding Uncomfortable Feelings
§Disregarding What Matters Most
§External Factors oJust Noticing
Chapter 2: Designing Curriculum Using Multiple Sets of Values
·Teachers' Values vs. Students' Values
·Learning What Your Students Value
·Teachers' Values vs. Other Teachers' Values
·Values Clarification for Groups
·Teachers' Values vs. Institutional Values
·Working with Institutional Values
·Accounting for Multiple Sets of Values
Chapter 3: Using Values to Focus Units
·The Unity of a Unit
·Ringmasters and Drovers
·Making Titles Matter
·Essential or Valued?
·What Essential Questions Sound Like
·From Values to Essential Questions
Chapter 4: Organizing Lessons in a Values-Congruent Unit oGathering oChoosing What to Include -- and What to Let Go oBeginning a Unit with What's Familiar oIntroducing New Material oChoosing Instructional Methods oCreating Meaningful Contexts for Student Work
§Cycles of Instruction, Practice, and Application oRegularly Returning to What Matters oUsing the Calendar oMaking a Lesson Calendar oMaking Adjustments
Chapter 5: Values-Congruent Assessments oKinds of Assessment Tasks o"Values-Dense" Assessments oStudents Choosing How They're Assessed oWhen and How Often to Give Assessments oHelping Students Reach Outcomes You Value
§Provide Multiple Models of Excellent Work for Students to Analyze
§Teach All the Skills Students Need to Do Well
§Allow Class Time for Students to Reach Your Expected Level of Quality
§Modify Assignments to Fit Students' Needs oWriting Assignment Guidelines
§Consider What to Define and What to Leave Open-Ended
§Set Yourself Up to Give Values-Congruent Grades
§Copy Valued Expectations from Assignment to Assignment
§Look for the Impact of Unintended Bias oProject-Based Assessments and Values oAdjusting Some More
Chapter 6: Aligning a Unit oA Values-Aligned Unit oResistance to Alignment oGetting Aligned oCommon Problems in Aligning a Unit
§Problem: When the Lessons and Assessment Don't Match the Essential Question
§Problem: When the Teacher Values Knowledge or Skills but Doesn't Explicitly Teach Them
§Problem: When the Assessment Task Measures What's Easy to Measure Instead of the Valued Understandings
§Problem: When Teachers Assume Students Will Construct Valued Understandings for Themselves
§Problem: When the Essential Question Seems So Important That the Unit Goes On Too Long oAssessing Your Unit
Chapter 7: Designing a Values-Congruent Course oCourses as Heaps oOngoing Strands oCourse-Level Essential Questions oDesigning a Meaningful Assessment Mix oMore Factors in Creating an Assessment Mix
§Group Size
§Stakes oCharting an Assessment Mix oSequencing Your Course
§Creating Balance Between Competing Values
§Building On Students' Existing Knowledge and Skill Sets
§Creating a Progression of Ideas
§Upcycling Student Work oThinking Flexibly About Sequence oAssessing Your Course
Chapter 8: Optimizing Your Students' Experience oGaps in the Curriculum oMaking a Values Map of a Program oRepetitions in the Curriculum oOptimizing the Curriculum oProgrammatic Assessment Mixes oRemoving Barriers to Optimizing the Curriculum oValues Conflicts oIntegrating Diverse Values
§Writing Programmatic Essential Questions

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