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Curriculum Development

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Hey–happy Friday! How was your week? Mine was productive. Very productive. And productive feels so much better than just about anything else right now. I just wrapped my first week as an Instructional Designer at Daemen College, and I am loving it. I mean, talk about serendipity. There may be no better definition of just-in-time professional learning right about now. I’ll try to pay as much of it forward as I can. My first recommendation?…

2006. I think this was the first time that I found myself facilitating a curriculum mapping initiative. Even then, it was all about culture ahead of curriculum. I was fortunate to have mentors who helped me seek representation from those who would be most effected by the work, ahead of doing it. They helped me establish better feedback loops. They challenged me to think hard about how I would sustain our learning and our work.…

Two weeks ago, I invited writing teachers far and wide to share their biggest workshop dilemmas with me! Okay, if I’m being honest, I asked a bunch of people who recently read Make Writing to share their biggest workshop dilemmas with me. BUT! They did not disappoint! I also think that their responses will leave some of you nodding your weary heads. “My mini-lessons go too long,” many told me. “My feedback is mess,”…

This year found me recommitting to the work of daily documentation as a writer, a writing teacher, and a professional learning facilitator. This was a challenging and even overwhelming endeavor at times, but so very much worth the effort that I made. In fact, this project was so rewarding that I’ve already created new intentions for my documentation practice in 2019. These were my greatest moments of professional learning, and I wonder: If you were…

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome teacher-librarian Melanie Mulcaster to my little corner of the web. Melanie has made a home at Hillside Public School in Mississauga, Ontario. I had the great fortune to meet her in person last summer, and we became fast friends. I’m honored to feature her reflections about making, reading, writing, and documentation here today. Please follow her on Twitter and drop by her blog to get to know her better. Making…

Two weeks ago, Laurie Schultz invited me to coach in her kindergarten writing workshop at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore. I’m always grateful to work with Laurie. Her energy is incredible, and she sustains her compassion for even the most challenging kids in her care. She also maintains a high bar for her students, regardless of any label that’s been imposed on them. My Rationale:  When we met to discuss the mini-unit…

Last week, I had the great fortune to coach research and information writing in Melanie Jones’s kindergarten class at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore, New York. We were most interested in taking the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards for a drive by diving into play-based learning and exploring the effect that it had on rigor. First things came first, though: we needed an audience for students’ work! Thanks to my vibrant…

Here’s what I’ve learned so far: Emergent curriculum design isn’t a free-for-all. It’s not about evading standards–our own, or those that our state mandates. Emergent curriculum may be co-designed with students, but it’s still very carefully planned. In fact, it’s been my experience that emergent curriculum is far more data informed than many other kinds of curriculum we often purchase or create. A quick aside: I make no apologies for using the word data. Data are…

If you read my earlier post on establishing a shared vision ahead of emergent curriculum design work, then you’ll be better prepared to consider today’s post. Shared targets help learners (including teachers) understand what they learn during a lesson, how deeply they might learn it, and what they might do to demonstrate their learning. Drop by Ed Leadership to read more about learning targets, if you aren’t yet familiar with them. Connie Moss, Susan Brookhart,…

“We imagine a school in which students and teachers joyfully stretch themselves to their limits in search of projects built on their own visions, not one that merely succeeds in making apathetic students satisfy minimal standards. We imagine a school from which every student will come with vision.” -Seymour Papert and Gaston Caperton It was Piaget who first suggested that children think differently than adults, and while skeptics continue to treat his observations and the…