Teaching since Fall 2001 – 3rd year in 2nd grade

Posts tagged ‘Teaching for Tomorrow’

New Curriculum Will It Really Deepen Student Learning?

De Cito Eindtoets Basisonderwijs.

Image via Wikipedia

I’m processing a couple of new things right now. I’m moving to 2nd grade, and just confirmed I will be G&T Self Contained. Earlier this week I went to a workshop on our district’s new curriculum. Of course Texas sets the standards. The curriculum is how the district sequences it and suggested activities.

There are many good points. Topping the list for me is that it is online, less paper wasted. There seems to be some collaborative tools. Teachers can make notes in their digital copy of things they have on their campus or classroom to add to what the district has listed.

A big selling point they pushed at the workshop was that we were going to focus on deeper understanding instead of a mile wide and inch deep. Part of this is the focus on Power Standards that we should go in depth on. The power standards were determined by commitee using 4 filters.

  • Leverage – Standards that are critical for the next level of learning
  • Endurance: Standard that have value for life.
  • Success in learning standards that apply across disciplines  and promote higher levels of learning
  • STARR – on test

That sounded great. I’m scheduled to take another workshop in August called IMath Academy. As part of that class we were assigned to read Teaching for Tomorrow. I have been reading it and am quite impressed.  Today while I was reading this quote struck me:

What I find most disturbing about the current focus on standardized testing is that the evaluative “tail” is wagging the instructional “dog” in education.

Ted McCain. Teaching for Tomorrow: Teaching Content and Problem-Solving Skills (p. 48). Kindle Edition.

So I tweeted “good point will the new power standards deepen learning or make teaching more shallow” from my Kindle. Unfortunately all that went through was deepen learning or make teaching more shallow with the link. Not surprising I haven’t received any responses back.

Right now I’m inclined towards the opinion that the new curriculum will deepen our student’s learning. One big advantage is instead of each TEKS getting a set number of days or in some cases minutes, the year is divided up into units. Most units have a Power Standard that is an larger concept and other supporting TEKS and you have weeks to explore the concept. Sure we teachers could have done this ourselves, but it is a lot of work.

Also as a school on the revolving door circuit – I like the idea all the schools in the district working together and being in basically the same place. That way you don’t have huge holes in students’ knowledge especially the basic building blocks like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

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