Southern New Hampshire University
The task of building a curriculum that shows what is important for students to be able to demonstrate has many facets that need to be analyzed. The development of curriculum is an on-going assignment of a teacher's responsibilities. If a teacher is taking good notes and observing their lessons every time they execute them, there should always be room for adjusting and fine tuning their work. When developing curriculum, topics should prioritized on what is important for the students to know. The following points also need to be acknowledged while developing curriculum: It needs to be taken from many resources to make it real and useful for all students. State and national standards must be considered and used to parallel expectations A number of different assessments need to be able to be used to measure the various students demonstrations of learning (Haag, 2012). When exploring the actual definition of curriculum, you have to consider not only what is taught but how it is taught and assessed. The teaching part of curriculum is the instruction and the assessment is how teachers find out what has been learned (Haag, 2012). While developing curriculum for my classes at GBECS, I have always used the Understanding by Design (UbD) method. My administrators and colleagues were using it when I arrived on the scene and that was the expectation that was put out there for us while we developed our course work. There were no books or previous curriculum left in place for me when I took the position as a “Lower School” Math teacher and Chemistry teacher. The UbD book was made available and many hours of Professional Development, collaborating with the “Upper School” Math and Lead teacher. We continue to take PD hours each summer to re-access the curriculum frameworks we have developed. The first Probability Curriculum Template (See Appendix A) was completed almost three years ago and is very similar to the UbD templates in the workbook that was used for this class. After using this Probability Curriculum as a guide each year, I recognize that there are areas that need attention. The updated version of the Probability Unit (See Appendix B) was redesigned using the actual templates from the UbD workbook. Appendix D shows the “Concept Map” that was the skeleton of the Unit shown in Appendix B. It shows in a nutshell what is happening in the curriculum and is helpful in summarizing the template. The assessments that were put in place originally have been altered and in addition we use the ALEKS program. The ALEKS program has assisted in assessing the varied abilities of our students that come from at least twenty different sending towns. The assessment rubrics that are designed for each Unit have the flexibility in them to allow for verbal confirmation of what has been learned as well as a written form of confirmation.
UbD is helpful when developing 21st century curriculum because it focuses solely on student understanding (Bellanca & Brandt, 2010). It is the backward design methodology that allows teachers to first ask themselves: “What enduring understanding do I want my students to develop?”. A teacher can better consider the 4 C's of 21st Century education: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity when they first really consider which big picture, real world concepts they want their students to take away from a Unit of curriculum. It is so important to create a classroom that fosters the asking of questions. The teaching, and therefore the learning, becomes more purposeful and meaningful (Buck Institute for Education, 2012).
UbD is used when developing the larger Exhibition Projects at our school. These projects are carefully designed so that they incorporate...
References: Bellanca, J., & Brandt, R. (2010). Rethinking how students learn. New York: Solution Tree
Buck Institute for Education. (2012). Project based learning. Retrieved March 6, 2012, from
Gardner, H. (1991). The unschooled mind. New York: Basic Books.
Haag, S., (2012). Week one class notes (Module One). Lecture posted to University of Southern
New Hampshire class forum, EDU-547-X2116 Curriculum Development course Web
Jacobs, H. (2011). Curriculum 21. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2004). Understanding by design, professional development
National Research Council. (2004). How people learn. Washington, D.C.: National Academy
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