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Curriculum Mapping

By Jbellegab Nov 18, 2008 653 Words
Unit 4, #1

Curriculum mapping is a new, yet seemingly beneficial curriculum design to me. Both horizontal and vertical mapping are offered. Horizontal mapping represents the curriculum in grades K-12 in a particular grade throughout a school district. Vertical mapping is a curriculum map of all the horizontal maps in grades K-12.

While looking at the Maine Learning results, I see plenty of evidence of vertical planning. For example, in geometry for grades K-2, students should be able to “describe, model, and classify 2D shapes”. By grades 3-4, they should be able to “describe, model, and classify shapes and figures.” When entering middle school, students should be able to “compare, classify, and draw 2D shapes and 3D figures.” And finally by graduation, they should be able to “draw coordinate representations of geometric figures and transformations.” As one can see, there is vertical alignment here. At each new grade level, it is assumed that the previous standard was met. If it had not been, then it would be difficult to master the latter standards.

Likewise, in social studies, the international relations standard builds off each year as well. In grades K-2, students will “recognize that there are other nations with different traditions and practices.” By grades 3-4, students will “identify examples of how the United States interacts with other countries. When entering middle school, students should be able to “explain the foreign policy powers which the Constitution gives to the branches of the government.” And upon high school graduation, students should be able to “ analyze the processes used to develop foreign policy.” Again, without the previous teachings it would be difficult to master the high school requirement.

When looking at the Maine Learning Results, it is harder to find examples of horizontal planning, but it can be done. One must keep an open mind to look for one. For example, the social studies standard, for geography, the science and technology standard for implications of science and technology, and the English standard for literature and culture is one example. In grades 3-4 for social studies, students should be able to “ explain ways in which communities reflect the backgrounds of their inhabitants.” The science and technology standard for the same grade is for students to “explore how cultures have found different technological solutions.” And lastly, the language arts standard for grades 3-4 states that students should be able to “demonstrate awareness of the culture and geography for the texts they read.” These three standards overlapping as they do, give rise to a fantastic opportunity for an interdisciplinary unit on culture.

Another example of horizontal planning in the Maine Learning Results occurs in the English Language Arts, science and technology, and visual and performing arts. Science and Technology and the Visual and Performing Arts both require the ability to do research papers at the secondary level. It can be a lab, journal, or self-assessment form. In Performing Arts it can be a paper about an artist, a piece of work, or a performance. The English Language Arts standard asks students to effectively write a research paper.

I am not sure if it is overlapping of performance indicators or the state being thorough. There are some standards where overlapping is inevitable, especially horizontally. The idea of interdisciplinary units is on the rise. This horizontally overlapping allows for these units to occur with ease and little planning.


Brandt, R.S. (Ed.). (2000) Education in a new era. Alexandria, VA. Association forSupervision and Curriculum Development.

Erickson, H. Lynn (2001). Stirring the head, heart, and soul: redefining curriculum and
instruction (2nd ed.). Corwinn Press.

Jacobs, H.H. (1997). Mapping the big picture. Alexandria, VA. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Maine Department of Education. (1997). State of Maine Learning Results

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1999). Understanding by design: Professional development workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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