Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Organizing Curriculum

Two ideas have been on my mind.

Organizing and curriculum.

Philosophically, I believe that subject matter should be student centered.

However, upon closer inspection, it is to be seen that there needs to be a balance between the content that sprouts from the students and the content that is prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

It is very nice and well to say that you will have a student-centered classroom, but such a philosophy makes planning difficult, if not impossible.

I am realizing more and more that one of the most important tasks of teaching is planning.

Bob's Educational Site contains the Quebec curriculum prescriptions for each of the subjects for each of the grade levels.

The Word files can be used as a roadmap for the school year; additionally, the files can be used as templates to create a checklist for each student, to assess each student in each category as the school year progresses.

These checklist roadmaps can be supplemented by curriculum guides from other districts. For example, these from Kent State University.

I wrote a previously about the benefits of accepting failure in the classroom. It is evident that, if a group of students is going to progress through the entire curriculum for a year (or, at least, most of it), then there will be occasions when it will be necessary to forge ahead even though some of the students have not yet mastered a particular concept or skill. This acceptance is part of the necessity of accepting failure. You cannot get hung up on one topic if the students are not learning it. You need to move on.

For some subjects, the course content is more rigidly prescribed than for others. For example, Math is more rigid than English. For Math, the teacher need only follow the provincial curriculum outline.

For English, the prescribed outcomes are less exact. The English curriculum can be augmented by a Grammar Curriculum. The website Guide To Grammar And Writing has a pretty thorough catalogue of grammar and writing topics, and could be used as a checklist for an English curriculum.

As I stated, teaching does not need to be complicated. Google Calendar can be used to create a daily routine. There are certain tasks that the class should accomplish each and every day. For example, the Quebec Curriculum states that the students should be engaged in writing every day. So, a personal blog or a journal can be implemented, and it can be done at the same time every day. A work day can be mostly filled by recurring tasks. It is not necessary for a teacher to re-invent the wheel every day. Routines are good. For teachers and students alike, routines reduce the stress of not knowing what is going to happen next. Routines can reduce incidences of misbehaviour.


Post a Comment