Curriculum adoption is a complex process involving the implementation of a new curriculum program in a subject area within a school. When effective, the impact of curriculum adoption will be seen in the work of the teacher and students, in all aspects of teaching and learning.
To implement a new curriculum program effectively, the most fundamental step is for teachers and school leaders to become familiar with the program’s objectives, alignment to standards, pedagogy, structure and pacing.
This "unpacking" takes place before full program implementation and is meant to be closely followed by execution of one unit, to get a closer look. With these two actions under their belts, teachers will likely be in a strong position to reflect on what worked and challenges associated with the new resource as well as next steps for effective curriculum adoption.
Learning Targets. Teachers will:
- understand the organizational structure and components of the curriculum
- be familiar the pedagogy behind the curriculum
- identify assessments in the curriculum and potential approaches to tracking data
- define the most important content to be taught over the year (preliminary), resulting in a draft curriculum and assessment calendar
- implement one complete unit with their students
- reflect on successes and challenges of unit implementation through the lenses of their effectiveness (skills, knowledge) and student learning
- Recommended Sequence of Activities:
- Unpack: Understand the “outline” of the program by examining its standards, pedagogy and structures. To provide a more holistic picture, this activity works well in two extended sessions or as one full-day session with a teacher team/group of teachers. (Folder of Unpacking materials)
- Implement one complete unit: Execute with fidelity by teaching all or most critical lessons, incorporating key assessments and resources (texts, etc.)
- Reflect: Once implementation has been completed, decide on a strategy for deepening practice with the new curriculum by considering what worked, challenges for students and teachers and next steps.
- Plan: Decide on a strategy for going forward with the teachers/team using the assessment and Phase 2 materials for guidance.
- Curriculum Adoption, Phase 2: Deepening Understanding and PracticeHaving been introduced to the new curriculum and launched the first unit, teachers/ the team are/is more certain than ever that taking on a new curriculum program is a major endeavor. It requires educators throughout the school to not only become thoroughly familiar with a set of new instructional material but also to apply this understanding to implementation that goes beyond following words on a page.
Deepening understanding and practice is more than a singular focus proposition if the goal is to enable teachers are to fully address the instructional core (teaching, learning, content.) Focus areas are represented in the four strands that follow.
Focus on these four strands:
Content: Understanding of and experience with the specific concepts being addressed (for example, linear expressions) and level of rigor (Bloom, DOK) intended.Pedagogy/Teaching Strategies: Understanding of the key teaching strategies, moves, protocols and structures embedded in the unit.Pacing and Prioritizing: Understanding of effective and efficient ways to distribute time in order to emphasize the most important teaching points in the unit.Making Connections to the Framework for Teaching: Recognizing the best practice strategies embedded within the curriculum and application to the classroom.
Learning Targets. Teachers completing Phase 2 will:
- teach key curriculum program content effectively in the classroom
- apply the key teaching/ pedagogical strategies effectively in the classroom
- recognize the links between standards, learning targets and assessments in the curriculum and their role in pacing and prioritizing lessons
- define the most important content to be taught over the year, resulting in a workable curriculum and assessment calendar
- demonstrate skills in distributing time and prioritizing most important teaching points when implementing lessons and units with their students
- reflect on successes, challenges and next steps associated with unit implementation through the lenses of both student learning and the Framework for Teaching.