Sunday, February 24, 2008

thinking out loud on paper

I am feeling a little apprehension about Monday's class, when we will start working on our curriculum guides, because I don't feel that I have a clear idea of what a curriculum guide looks like. I found an example of a course outline on the MNPS website that I think may be similar to a curriculum guide, but I don't think it's as in-depth as this assignment is calling for. From my understanding, I'm supposed to take the state standards and put them into some sort of appropriate sequence for the year, then give suggestions for instructional activities and assessments that can be used with each objective. Is that it? If so, that seems intense because there are a LOT of standards. And I'm also concerned with the sequencing part, because I think that with English, the skills should be taught holistically, not in isolation. Students should be improving skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening concurrently, since these skills build on and complement each other. So I'm not sure what an appropriate sequence would look like or how many objectives should be covered in each lesson or unit. I think this was my problem as a teacher as well. I didn't think in terms of the standards and skills that I needed to cover. I thought about a topic that would be interesting or something I wanted to read with the class, and then I thought of activities that would improve reading, writing, and thinking skills through that particular topic or text. So I never had an overall idea of what skills students should have achieved by the end of the year, what these skills looked like, or how to measure them. Obviously, the purpose of having to create a curriculum guide now is to learn how to do it, but at the same time, I feel like I'm being asked to do something that I don't know how to do! I don't really know where to start or what steps to take. Hopefully this will be clarified on Monday....

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