LOTS134 - How Do You Redesign Curriculum?


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Today we kick off 2022 by discussing how we go about revising aspects of our curriculum. Show Notes: We kick off our episode with a goofy question: Do you typically make a New Year’s Resolution or goal for the upcoming year? If so, what is your resolution for 2022? How much pre-planning goes into your teaching? Do you have structured unit plans for the whole year? Do you plan unit to unit? Week-to-week? Day-to-day? Amy: Our biology team determined our objectives for each unit, and we agreed on what we will access and how many points the assessments are worth. At the beginning of the unit, I set up a very basic schedule with the required summatives, and each day, I go in and plan the day by day formatives or make adjustments to the timing for summatives. Due to the pandemic, I feel that my planning takes up most of my time because I am always building my lesson plans with student ideas, and additional practice activities based on how my students perform on the work from the previous class. Hannah: I am a whole year planner, but I also tend to do a lot of revision. My year-long plans are more of a basic roadmap- what content/activities to do and when, when to have assessments, etc. Then I go in and do more fine details usually the day (or this year...often the morning) before. Aaron: As a department, we have a planned schedule and then set a class calendar as unit-to-unit. I have been trying to not be too dogmatic about these plans and build in some time for check-ins and revisions. How do you get feedback that some aspect of your curriculum is not working? Is it from student formative work? Summative work? Discussion with colleagues? Discussion with supervisors? Hannah: Student work is the most valuable feedback for me. This could be from conversations, or from their performance on assessments. I also check in with myself and my planning partner- if we aren’t feeling good about the curriculum, the students probably aren’t either! Amy: I really believe that student work and feedback is the strongest indicator that the curriculum is not successful. I want the kids to be curious and naturally ask questions. I want them to find a connection to something they experienced that they are willing to share with others. I collect data using surveys and from formative assessments and summative assessments to gauge how well the curriculum I designed is helping students meet the goals. Aaron: Historically, I have been most informed by discussion with colleagues and summative assessments, but I am working to use more formative feedback to inform our work. What is the part of your curriculum you would like to redesign the most? Amy: I would really like to have more wet labs and more inquiry. I feel that I am still the person in the room in charge of everything and the person who talks the most about science, and I would like to see the students directing more of the learning. Hannah: I could talk about this for a long time…. In AP Bio I wish CB would split the course into a 1 and 2 sequence (similar to physics and calc). Especially as an AP bio as first bio school...the balance between flying through content vs making time for student inquiry, labs, etc is something I really struggle with. Aaron: As I mentioned before, I really want to have student’s work to drive instruction. I have been doing more driving question boards, formative check-ins, and other student feedback opportunities into my classes. I have been tinkering with my practice a lot in this area throughout the year. Credits: Please subscribe to Life of the school on your podcast player of choice! Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/LOTS Music by: https://exmagicians.bandcamp.com/ Show Notes at Lifeoftheschool.org You can follow on twitter @MrMathieuTweets or @lifeoftheschool

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