Monday, March 10, 2008

What now?

This past week, I have been working more on my scope and sequence and feeling a little overwhelmed. Deconstructing the state standards has not been too difficult, once I got the hang of it, but it's only helpful if I feel the state standards encompass what I want to teach, which I don't. I'm having difficulty seeing how everything fits together. I think I still don't have a clear idea of what is meant by a scope and sequence. I mean, I know what it means by definition, but I don't know what one looks like or what process I need to undertake in order to create one. After I have deconstructed each standard and written several scope and sequence statements for each, what do I do?

I decided to put aside the standards and just create my own mission and purpose of education, which I decided would consist of 5 things I believe education should accomplish:

1. Create life-long learners
2. Cultivate an appreciation of others (people, places, customs, beliefs, etc)
3. Moral/spiritual development
4. Develop and hone skills needed to be successful in a versatile career path or paths
5. Enable students to become agents of change

Then I broke down what would be needed to achieve each of these goals. The skills part was the hardest, because that's when I needed to decide not only how to teach the skills but what skills I felt were important. The skills that I chose for the most part overlapped with the state standards for English, although in several cases I am interested achieving higher levels of critical thinking than what is asked for in the standards.

So now I have an idea of what students should accomplish in a general sense as well as specific skills, but I need to know the degree of achievement that is appropriate for each grade level (or at least my focus grade and grades immediately above and below). And if that all encompasses the scope, now I need to figure out the sequence, which to me is most difficult because most English skills I believe should be taught concurrently. Also, although there is a certain degree of achievement expected of each grade level, reality dictates that not all students will have the prerequisites necessary to reach this level, so how do I build into the curriculum ways to help teachers fill in gaps in student knowledge?

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