I had a really nice day today with High School ELA teachers.
Our day was supposed to be centered around learning to enter information into curriculum mapping software in preparation for an upcoming conference day. Instead, when I arrived this morning, the teachers and I had a conversation around the curriculum itself, which evolved into the understanding that a common language around standards was essential.
So, we changed our day.
We began by talking about prioritizing the curriculum, and zeroing in on the absolute most critical standards and performance indicators. We talked about past test data and gaps that had been identified in previous workshops. That information informed our direction as to what in the performance standards MUST be represented in each teacher's classroom. Additionally we conversed about what information may be on the periphery of importance and might not be seen in every teacher's classroom.
This led to a discussion of Research Papers and how everyone teaches the format differently and requires different components. They agreed that there should be some consistency around the writing of the research paper and that the evolution of activities associated with it should start with 9th grade teachers.
I had to stop them and tell them that the perception of Curriculum Mapping is to create this beautifully landscaped map in the curriculum mapping software, but the reality is just the conversation. The conversation that they had today. That's the real mapping...and I was really proud of what they learned and accomplished today. It feels good to be part of that discovery when you realize the worth in doing something beyond yourself and realizing that your team is important. (As well as the realization that what you're doing really is in the best interest of kids--in this case--speaking a common language to avoid confusion from grade to grade or teacher to teacher.)
We still took a field trip into the curriculum mapping software, but today was a day of discovery beyond what I had expected--and I'm looking forward to my next time working with this group!