3 simple strategies for smart curriculum mapping

By Terry Heck

The school year is not a series of sprints, but the way you create your curriculum can feel that way.

The most common way to construct how you teach is to first combine values ​​into units, then turn those units into lessons. You can use a retrospective-design process (popular by UbD and Grant Wiggins), where you start with what you want students to understand, then decide what might work as proof of that understanding, then finally design an assessment that works best. Provides opportunities for students to express what they know.

This is a completely reasonable response to the enormous workload of surveying, harvesting, bundling and distributing academic standards in your content area. This is especially true if the subject area is English-language arts, which does not have six separate value sets in the Common Core menu. This means that dozens and dozens of values ​​start from complexitySpell correctly“Per”Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, play, or poem (e.g., a written or recorded novel or poem in a written or live production), evaluate how each version explains the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American playwright.)

It makes sense to organize. Sequencing is a type of institution স্ক thus mapping the scope and sequence and curriculum based on the academic standards provided. These documents work in many ways, primarily to ensure that all content is covered and to create a general experience for teachers so that data and educational resources can be shared.

The problem

The challenge comes when that company creates artificial barriers and awkward paths through content. To get “through everything”, encouraging bad thinking habits is easy and even worse, providing misleading data about what students actually understand.

Imagine each of your units for a moment. Whether you use a genre-based unit (a “poetry” unit, a “linear equation” unit, etc.), a thematic unit (where learning experiences are planned around themes and thematic questions), project-based learning, or some combination of these. Approaches and other, not all content is equally important.

So how can you avoid making such mistakes on your curriculum map? Or correct what you were assigned 3 days before school started?

1. Give priority

Recently, the concept of “power standard” has come to the fore, recognizing that not all academic standards are created equal. Some values ​​are naturally more attractive than others, more permanent than others, more complex, or can be leveraged to combine other values ​​and related content. In the English-language industry, for example, a standard with clear and underlying themes may be considered a power standard because of the author’s intent, audience awareness, tone, text structure, ability to incorporate other values ​​or content, including theme vs. thesis. Other.

2. Use a spiral

Then it is understood that if a particular content is ‘more important’ – for whatever number of reasons – then that content should be ‘spiraled’. We’ll find out more about spiraling in a separate post, but basically spiraling the curriculum is the process of embedding critical content throughout the year. This means that usually at the beginning of the year, this content is distributed at the lowest level of Bloom’s classification.

See more Curriculum planning tips for any grade level or content area

So if we take the above example of ‘theme’, in August the theme will be defined, examples will be given and preliminary analysis will take place. In the middle of the year, students will begin to analyze general text themes more closely, and begin to analyze more complex text themes (and digital media), and by March, students will have analyzed complex themes of complex texts.

3. Evaluation form diversity

The process of responding to your students’ personalized learning needs probably begins with assessment. Even if you don’t differentiate between learning content, process, or product, changing how you evaluate comprehension can go a long way toward truly personalized learning for students.

Why don’t you just offer student choices in the assessment form — Multiple Choice vs. Concept-Mapping, Short Feedback vs. Student Conferencing, An Exit Slip vs. a Journal Entry — The more variety and choice you can make in the assessment, the better you can protect students Practicing problematic curriculum mapping allows students to sabotage academic performance.

Tests are not attractive, but evaluations can be.


To cover all of the content, do what you can to avoid running from unit to unit. Content that will serve you and your students the most needs to be prioritized and spiraled throughout the school year.

If you can diversify assessments in your classroom — the student’s voice, preferences, and ability to demonstrate what students understand — and the depth they can understand ায়ে in a variety of ways, you better respond to your students’ personal learning needs.

Image attribution Flickr user woodleywonderworks; 3 simple strategies for smart curriculum mapping