Thematic Planning-Integrated InstructionHow do you think about curriculum? Do you see each subject as unique? Do you see skills as separate and discrete?
Do you see the connections between curricular areas so that language arts, social studies, science, the arts, mathematics, and technology all integrate and support each other as part of a total learning process?
In the thematic planning
process curriculum is planned based on global concepts and themes that
you want your students to understand. All areas of the curriculum are integrated
in a natural way as they relate to the global theme. For example, if you
teach United States History, the novels your students read would relate
to the period of history being studied. Science concepts would be appropriate
to that period of history. Eighth grade teachers might plan the Civil War
period together. In Language Arts students might read the RED BADGE OF
COURAGE. In social studies students might research the causes of the Civil
War and compare them to our modern social concerns. In science students
might study the physics involved in military science. In art students might
study art of the Civil War period, etc. A technology project could be a
web page, or multimedia project about the Civil War period that integrates
all subject areas. All curriculum is based on content standards, and assessment
is built into the learning process throughout the duration of the unit
of study. The learning needs and learning styles of all students are considered,
and all students are given the opportunity to be successful learners.
Collaborating With Other TeachersThere are many online resources for teachers. These include educational chat rooms and Multiuser Virtual Environments such as Tapped In,
Try joining Tapped In. Membership is free. You may use me as your reference when you fill out the application form. Tapped In has wonderful resources and excellent After School Online discussions. See their Event Calendar for topics, dates and times. If you click on a topic you will get detailed information on that topic. If you scroll to the top of that information page They have a wonderful Social Studies forum and an excellent early literacy discussion group, There are also excellent math, and art science discussion groups. This is a great way to link up with teachers from all over the world.
There are also many wonderful educator listservs that provide answers to curriculum questions, support groups for subject and grade levels, and excellent resources. Some of these include:
Try joining one of these listservs.
Taking a Look at How We TeachThink about how you usually plan curriculum. What drives what you teach and how you teach it?
All instruction should be linked to core curriculum and be multi-disciplinary. As educators we must assure that our curriculum is based upon rigorous standards.
The goal of standards-based education
is to increase the academic achievement of all students by creating a standard
set of guidelines and expectations for all students. Standards bring consistency
to the educational system and a high level of expectation for all students.
Our challenge is to align our curriculum and instruction to these new standards.
Assessment, too, must be consistent with the standards. Frameworks, instructional
materials, and assessment should ideally all be aligned with the content
standards. This means that we need to rethink how we plan curriculum. See
the chart below to learn how standards based instruction changes the way
we think about planning curriculum and instruction.
Information in the above chart is from
CTAP SCORE Workshop at San Diego County Office of Education 1/15/99 by
Elaine Irish and Sandy Silberman.
As you plan your curriculum, determine what to understand and do as a result of curriculum you are planning. This means what is it that you want your students to understand about what they will study and how that understanding will affect their lives.
Then go to the standards and determine what standards will be met.
Next write your goals. Goals are the general or overall concepts that teachers want students to learn.
Then write a measurable objective or
two for each goal
Think about the following as you plan to write your objectives:
1. What will your students do that will indicate they understand the subject?
2. What will happen if they do not fully understand the subject?
3. How will you know the difference between students getting the "right" answer and really understanding the subject?
4. What will students do to indicate they REALLY understand the subject?
5. How will technology be used as a tool to contribute to your students gaining enduring understanding of the subject?
Reflect on the following questions concerning
the above example:
Objectives are based on goals and are measurable. When writing measurable objectives, it is important to consider the following:
1.What is the intended learning outcome?
2.What important cognitive skills do you want your students to understand?
3.What social, effective, and metacognitive skills do you want your students to learn?
4.What types of problems do you want your students to solve?
5.What concepts and principles do you want your students to be able to apply?
Next, when writing measurable objectives, it is important to know how you are going to assess whether the objectives have been met. You need to consider what assessment strategies you will use to measure content learning and understanding. Some examples are normed reference tests, teacher-made tests, checklists, rubrics, portfolios, charts of what students know, want to learn, and actually do learn, projects, journals, and essays.
Finally, when writing a measurable objective, you need to consider what students will do to meet the objective. Will students work independently, with a partner, or in a group? What tasks will be done in the classroom, and what tasks will be done elsewhere? How often will students work on the project? Who will determine what is to be learned and who will measure the outcome?
chart created by Michael Simkins, Director of the Challenge 2000 Multimedia
Project exemplifies the difference between a goal and a measurable objective.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access this chart.