This post is designed as a three-part training series for middle and high school teachers working in school teams to write and revise their curriculum maps.
How do I choose a curriculum map template and add essential questions?
Begin by watching this 5-minute focusing on one school in Chattanooga, TN and their work with essential questions and curriculum design. (Link to YouTube)
As you watch, consider the following questions:
- Why exert the energy to shift from planning learning activities to planning learning outcomes and key understandings?
- What is the relationship between rich, higher-order questions and rich, higher-order answers?
- What is your theory about how to support all students increase their depth of knowledge in your classroom and in your curriculum?
All curriculum maps will have at least four components:
- Essential Questions
Most will also include a section aligning to Standards and noting Resources. We will begin with Essential Questions, the over-arching interrogatives that provide focus and engage students (A. Johnson). Essential questions als0 encourage higher-level thinking, help students make connections beyond content being studied, and focus on the “So Why Am I Teaching This?”
Sample Essential Questions include:
- What is my story?
- Where do we find cells?
- Is everything quantifiable?
- Who are everyday heroes?
- What is the difference between a scientific fact, theory, and a strong opinion?
- Is the Civil War still going on today?
Choose one unit of study from your existing curriculum map, and write or revise an essential question for that one unit. You may need to draft several possible options and check with colleagues for their ideas as well. Use the list of key concepts you created as a pre-assignment for this work as a starting place for your essential question generation.
Choose a template for your map that fits your context — either a school-wide template or one that makes sense to you. It should have the elements mentioned above. Sample curriculum map templates are below:
- Curriculum Map A
- Curriculum Map B
- Curriculum Map C
- Curriculum Map C (ELA 9/10 Standards Included for NYS & CCSS)
a) Add your draft Essential Questions to your Curriculum Map for each unit of study. If you are not able to draft questions for each unit, focus on the unit you have chosen to focus on for this workshop.
b) Add Concepts/Content to your Curriculum Map as well. You can fill in this part of your curriculum map for all units of study or just the unit you have chosen to focus on for this workshop, depending on the time allotted.