Goal 3: Effective participation in curricular processes.

Effective curriculum can increase student achievement and help students link the material together in a manner that will increase their knowledge of the world around them. Curriculum is an organized plan of how to get to a final goal. It is like a road map of what a student needs to know and how all the content connects together in the end. We need to realize that curriculum should never stay stagnant and we need to research various ideologies that would best benefit the student. Curriculum is not black and white and changes as the world and society change. We need to be able to communicate with other educators, administrators, parents, and students to develop, implement, and improve the curriculum in order to meet the needs of a changing world.

We need to be experts in our content areas. There is always something else to learn about our areas of study and we need to continue to research these areas in order to make it relevant to the students. We need to know how things connect together, organize the material in a way that helps the students make the connections among topics, align the curriculum to the state standards, and connect it to the world. State standards help provide a consistent and clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. Aligning the curriculum to the state standards has become a huge part of the curriculum mapping process in today’s schools. Curriculum mapping can provide consistency and information to educators, students, and parents. Students need to know where they are going and how they are going to get there.

The most effective curriculum is not created by one educator, but rather by many educators, who are all experts in their content areas. To be able to connect ideas and concepts across various disciplines can provide a student with a meaningful experience. When we align our curriculum, we need to have a flexible plan and an idea of how long it might take to teach the material. We need to be creative and communicate with each other on what and when something should be taught. It brings more purpose to students if what they learn in one class relates directly to something in another class.

Artifact 1

This is an essay that discusses the issue of requiring students in the United States to learn a Foreign Language. Today there is a push to focus the curriculum around the state and national standards. Foreign Language is not part of those standards. Curriculum is designed to help prepare students for the world around them, and this essay questions whether schools today are incorporating enough Foreign Language in their curriculum. I wrote this essay because I wanted to see if our schools needed to better prepare our students for such a global society. In the past, much of society didn’t view Foreign Language as a necessity and the curriculum in the schools followed that view. This artifact challenges the curriculum, reminds us that there are issues in the world that students need to be prepared for, and it should keep evolving through research and practice.

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Artifact 2

This artifact is my practicum project. In this project, I research professional learning communities and interview numerous educators in my building to determine how they used PLC time. I chose to do this project because I realize the importance of collaborating with other educators to align the curriculum with the state standards and across various content areas. This project showed that many educators in my building use this time to align the curriculum, come up with common assessments, and discuss best teaching strategies. This focus on curriculum alignment helps with consistency and pedagogy. The curriculum is continuously changing, so PLC time is needed for educators to continue to improve their own curriculums to best benefit the students.

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Artifact 3

This artifact is a course description of all the math courses offered at Norfolk Senior High School. We sat down as a math department in 2010 and updated the descriptions. I did not write this document by myself, but I did take part in putting it together. We discussed together what the prerequisite for each class was to be and what concepts were to be covered. We were also able to determine if there were any gaps in the math curriculum. This artifact demonstrates how a sequence of courses can connect together. This document also provides the students, parents, and teachers with a road map of what the student will be learning in each course.

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Artifact 4

This artifact is a scope and sequence for the Algebra I course offered at Norfolk Public Schools. We sat down as a math department in 2011 and looked through our curriculum for Algebra I. Before we did this, we didn’t have anything that showed what was covered in Algebra I. We all had an idea of what we were supposed to cover, but every teacher had a slightly different agenda. As a group we decided what we wanted the students to achieve and how it aligned to the state standards. By aligning the curriculum to the state standards, we were able to fill in some gaps in our curriculum. We also included a timeline of how long we felt each topic was going to take. Now our curriculum is more consistent with each teacher because of the scope and sequence we wrote.

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Artifact 5

This artifact is a syllabus that I give to the Algebra I students. This document provides the students with an outline of what is expected in class and what material they will be covering throughout the year. It acts as a road map for the students and gives them an idea of where they are going. The students can also see how they will be assessed on the material that they will be covering.

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