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Curriculum is not just for students! A well-developed curriculum should be giving you helpful tips and strategies which will make you a better teacher or homeschooler. Anyone can look up ideas on Pinterest and Facebook, but a great curriculum will provide you tools to do more than you could do on your own! Welcome to What I Have Learned. This is where I share my absolute best ideas, resources, and content just for you! You have come from Teachers Pay Teachers in search of a freebie specifically tailored to your classroom and grade level. Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? I loved reading them as a kid because I could travel throughout the book on my journey. Every pathway was. When developing a curriculum or program, it is important to remember that the content created is just one piece of the institution or agency. Much like placing a snapshot into a collage, nurse educators must be mindful of the larger picture.
Yup. It's like the books. Except instead of choosing if they turn to page 6 or page 49 (and maybe ending up in quicksand), your students choose…their assignments.
Pirate Quest or a Night at the Opera?
After your students finish devouring a bit of content (a chapter in their science texts, a novel, a math unit, research on WWII), you give them a handy list of potential assignments they can elect to complete, with each type of assignment worth a certain number of points.
Here are some examples:
- An illustration of a specific scene from a novel or a full-page comic explaining a mathematical concept (or other drawing-related exercise) may be worth 20 points.
- A 3-5-page essay (some students do rock it with writing) might be worth 40 points.
- A poem culled from words and phrases in a novel or written to illustrate the impact of a historical event could be a 10-pointer.
- A song that illustrates a concept or illuminates a theme could be worth 20 points recorded, 30 points performed live.
- A model, a video, a book review, a mathematical proof—30, 20, 40, 50, or whatever you decide.
Once you have a variety of assignments (and keep in mind: you can generate these ideas on your own or with your students), students must choose enough of them to reach a pre-determined total of points. For example, 100. Prefer 236? We'll leave it to you.
Then comes the adventure-choosing bit.
One student may choose two 30-point assignments, two tenners, and a 20, while another student may choose two 50-pointers. You'll want your list to be B-I-G so that students can find plenty of options that appeal to them. (That might be an argument for creating the list and the point values with your students, since they're sure to have ideas they'd want to take on.)
And just like that, the adventure is underway.
Grading the Adventure
We know, sounds a lot less fun when you remember you have to grade everything they do. But…we have an idea. It's called peer-assessment.
What better way to help lighten your load?
Here's how it goes:
The students fill out a project tracker form to keep track of the assignments they've chosen. They run their completed forms past a peer or two so that someone can double check their addition, and then they get to work.
And yes (since you asked), you can definitely give them class time to work on these projects. Imagine your classroom humming with activity as students reflect, analyze, and delve deeper into the content you've been working on for the past month. If you're a teacher, that should be a pretty nice out-of-body experience for you.
Onto the assessments themselves. When students complete their assignments, they should have them assessed by not one, but two of their peers. Which means you can create three-person groups for this purpose or let students choose their own assessors. If you go with the latter choice, you may need to stipulate that no student can act as an assessor for more than one (or two, or three) other students.
And also be wary of friendly grade inflation.
After reviewing the work, peer assessors should award a portion of the point value for each assignment (up to the total point value) and note it on the project tracker and assessment form. Then they total the points they have awarded and initial next to that total in the space provided.
Just like real paper-pushers.
Once this process is completed, students can either turn in everything (assignments and project tracker/assessment forms) to you for your okay, or you can just collect the forms and have students exhibit their work in the room for everyone (including you) to see. That way, you can walk around with the forms and see if anything seems out-of-whack.
If you feel that a student deserves far more (or far fewer) points than she was awarded, schedule a meeting with the student and the assessors to talk it over. Or, if everything seems kosher, the exhibit is yours to enjoy.
Wrap It Up
To tie it all together, give any students who wish to present their work to the class a chance to do so. Then provide closure for the whole class by talking through the process. The questions below are just ideas. Good ideas, but ideas nonetheless. No hard-and-fast rules here.
- What was your favorite project out of the ones you completed?
- Are you happy with the assignments you chose? Do you wish you had chosen differently? If so, why?
- How did you feel about assessing your peers' work? Was it difficult? Why or why not?
- Do you feel like you were fairly assessed? Why or why not?
- What did you learn from completing your assignments, or how did they help you look at or understand the material in a new way?
And now that you've worked in some stellar self-reflection, consider the assignment complete. That is—consider the treasure un-dug, the dragon slain, or…the teacher gratified.
This article will explain what curriculum development is, why it’s important for an instructor’s pedagogy and discuss the three different types of curriculum design.
Curriculum development can be defined as the step-by-step process used to create positive improvements in the courses offered by a school, college or university. The world changes every day and new discoveries have to be roped into the education curricula. Innovative teaching techniques and strategies (such as active learning or blended learning) are constantly being devised in order to improve the student learning experience. As a result, an institution has to have a plan in place for acknowledging these shifts and then be able to implement them in the school curriculum.
What is curriculum development?
The word curriculum has roots in Latin. It originally meant “racing chariot” and came from the verb currere, “to run”.
The way we understand and theorize about curriculum nowadays has altered significantly over the years. Today, the most simple definition of the word “curriculum” is the subjects comprising a course of study at schools, universities or colleges
Of course differences in course design exist—a math course taken at one university may cover the same material, but the educator could teach it in a different way—but the core fundamentals of curriculum development remain the same.
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What are the models of curriculum development?
Current curriculum models can be broken down into two broad categories—the product model and the process model. The product model is results-oriented. Grades are the prime objective, with the focus lying more on the finished product rather than on the learning process. The process model, however, is more open-ended, and focuses on how learning develops over a period of time. These two models need to be taken into account when developing curriculum.
What is curriculum planning?
Curriculum planning involves the implementation of different types of instructional strategies and organizational methods that are focused on achieving optimal student development and student learning outcomes. Instructors might structure their curriculum around daily lesson plans, a specific assignment, a chunk of coursework, certain units within a class, or an entire educational program.
During the curriculum planning phase, teachers consider factors that might complement or hinder their lesson curriculum. These include institutional requirements. Each administrator at a university or college will have guidelines, principles and a framework that instructors are required to reference as they build out their curriculums. Educators are responsible for ensuring that their curriculum planning meets the students’ educational needs, and that the materials used are current and comprehensible.
Educators should employ the curriculum process that best incorporates the six components of effective teaching. These components are applicable at both the undergraduate and graduate level:
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- To demonstrate knowledge of content;
- To demonstrate the knowledge of students;
- Select suitable instructional strategy goals;
- To demonstrate knowledge of resources;
- To design coherent instruction;
- Assess student learning.
What is curriculum design?
Now that we’ve gone over curriculum development and planning, let’s discuss curriculum design. Curriculum design is the deliberate organization of curriculum within a course or classroom. When instructors design their curriculums, they identify what will be done, who will do it and when, as well as what the objective of each course is. Remember that the curriculum contains the knowledge and skills that a student needs to master in order to move to the next level. By thinking about how their curriculum is designed, teachers ensure they’ve covered all the necessary requirements. From there, they can start exploring various approaches and teaching methods that can help them achieve their goals.
What are the types of curriculum design?
There are three basic types of curriculum design—subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered design.
Subject-centered curriculum design revolves around a particular subject matter or discipline, such as mathematics, literature or biology. This type of curriculum design tends to focus on the subject, rather than the student. It is the most common type of standardized curriculum that can be found in K-12 public schools.
Teachers compile lists of subjects, and specific examples of how they should be studied. In higher education, this methodology is typically found in large university or college classes where teachers focus on a particular subject or discipline.
Subject-centered curriculum design is not student-centered, and the model is less concerned with individual learning styles compared to other forms of curriculum design. This can lead to problems with student engagement and motivation and may cause students who are not responsive to this model to fall behind.
Learner-centered curriculum design, by contrast, revolves around student needs, interests and goals. It acknowledges that students are not uniform but individuals, and therefore should not, in all cases, be subject to a standardized curriculum. This approach aims to empower learners to shape their education through choices.
Differentiated instructional plans provide an opportunity to select assignments, teaching and learning experiences, or activities. This form of curriculum design has been shown to engage and motivate students. The drawback to this form of curriculum design is that it can create pressure on the educator to source materials specific to each student’s learning needs. This can be challenging due to teaching time constraints. Balancing individual student interests with the institution’s required outcomes could prove to be a daunting task.
Problem-centered curriculum design teaches students how to look at a problem and formulate a solution. Considered an authentic form of learning because students are exposed to real-life issues, this model helps students develop skills that are transferable to the real world. Problem-centered curriculum design has been shown to increase the relevance of the curriculum and encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration in the classroom. The drawback to this format is that it does not always consider individual learning styles.
By considering all three types of curriculum design before they begin planning, instructors can choose the types that are best suited to both their students and their course.
Developing, designing and implementing an education curriculum is no easy task. With the rise of educational technology and the diverse types of students attending higher educational institutions these days, instructors have their work cut out for them. But by following the fundamental guidelines and framework of curriculum development, educators will be setting themselves — and their students — up for long-term success.