Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Will you Design Units from Scratch or Borrow Them?

Al begs for high-quality curriculum. "Just tell me what to teach and I'll do it. Don't make me serve on another curriculum committee-- our most recent efforts are sitting on the shelf."

In another district, Nia attends trainings in the 2011 State Curriculum Frameworks and stays after school working with a district-wide team designing model units based on the curriculum maps created earlier in the year.

These teachers embody a larger conundrum: how will districts have maps and units aligned with the new standards in place next year? Should Al's district require him to become an expert curriculum designer so that he can assist with the process? Will the units created by Nia and her colleagues be as high-quality as the ones being built by curriculum professionals in Indiana?

I can see the value of training teachers to unpack standards and build aligned units-- they'll gain a working knowledge of the standards and be invested in the implementation of the newly constructed units. But is the end-product-- curricula of varying quality and alignment, in 393 districts across the state -- what we want?

How's your district tackling this one?

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