Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Collaborative Unit Design: Teaching Math

This morning I'm scheduled to meet with a number of colleagues to design a math unit of study. I really enjoy designing learning experiences and I look forward to working with this group of colleagues who have both similar and different educational backgrounds and experiences to me.

As I think about curriculum design, I'm thinking about all that we can do to engage, empower, and educate our students and what's important in this regard.

Since we run a standards-based curriculum program, the first step is to identify the standards and have clarity on what those standards mean. Do we agree when it comes to the interpretation of the standards.

Next we need to discern if the students are ready for the standards teaching. Do they have the background knowledge, skill, and concept to learn these relatively new standards? If not, what pre-work and teaching do we need to do to ensure readiness for the teaching.

Curiosity and Interest
How can we make sure that students are invested in this learning. What rationale and questions will we share with students that will pique their interest? What stories and objectives will we post? What kind of exploration will we engage in together to create a curious team of learners?

What is the signature vocabulary for this unit? How will we teach, display, and continue to use that vocabulary throughout the unit?

The Learning Path
What will the learning path look like? What comes first, second, and after that?  What blended learning materials and resources will we use to teach the unit well? Will we use video, online model making tools, paper/pencil exercises, group work, projects, or presentations?

How will we formally and informally assess students at the start and throughout the unit? How will we use those assessments to inform the learning path.

What will we add to the unit for those who understand the information well? How will we enrich the learning for those eager to learn more?

How do we best communicate the information with regard to the unit? What websites, newsletters, parent letters, and more will we use to allow the learning team including students, family members, colleagues, leaders, and community members to access the information as needed 24-7?

I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to design a unit of merit for our students. I look forward to learning from their experiences, points of view, and resources. This is the kind of curriculum work and collaboration I support, and the challenge will be to contribute as well as to take with the student learning and engagement as the focal point.