Reimagining Curriculum

Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of Students and Teachers and Shaping Both Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda The summer of 2020 is not a...
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Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of Students and Teachers and Shaping Both Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces

What Does Virtual Learning Look Like with Our Youngest Students?

  A Conversation with Lower School Principal Geoff Heney of Hong Kong International School Geoff is a teacher who has...
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What Does Virtual Learning Look Like with Our Youngest Students?

Taming Tensions through Design

  By Aaron Roberts, Eric Chagala, and Allison Zmuda While the disruption to school has been difficult, disheartening, and exhausting,...
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Taming Tensions through Design

A Turbulent Flight into a New World of Learning

It was July 2007 and I was on a red-eye flight from Argentina to San Antonio. Halfway into the flight...BAM!...
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A Turbulent Flight into a New World of Learning

What Does It Mean to Reimagine Curriculum?

Curriculum is a creative act — a journey we design to inspire and excite our students.

This category features how educators are leading transformations of an individual course, subject area, or schooling with their students. The goal is to offer curricular space for students to imagine, create, and innovate; pay attention to detail, practice, hone skills; and work through challenges that require both perseverance and thinking flexibly. All three of these categories are significant and interrelated.

Ideally, personalized learning curricula:

  • Identify goals of learning based on state/ministry/national frameworks that is written in student-friendly language
  • Develop questions or challenges that encourage students to think, problem-solve, and imagine
  • Design performance or product opportunities that mirror what people in the field and communities do
  • Use existing and seek out new assessment/instructional resources to support the development of every learner.

Responsive Return Strategies: Crafting Fresh Approaches to Schedules, Grouping of Students and Teachers and Shaping Both Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda The summer of 2020 is not a vacation for many educators who continue to work tirelessly to engage with their community on how to open school for the upcoming year. Each school and district continues to receive guidance from state, ministry, and national governments which may change suddenly given the unpredictability of the pandemic. In addition, the reality of implementing governmental guidelines...

What Does Virtual Learning Look Like with Our Youngest Students?

  A Conversation with Lower School Principal Geoff Heney of Hong Kong International School Geoff is a teacher who has taught primary students in Ottawa, Canada in between international experiences in Seoul, Korea and Shanghai, China. In the past 13 years, he has been a counselor and principal in Doha, Qatar, and is currently the lower primary principal at his present home at Hong Kong International School. By Allison Zmuda, Bena Kallick, and Lorena Kelly....

Taming Tensions through Design

  By Aaron Roberts, Eric Chagala, and Allison Zmuda While the disruption to school has been difficult, disheartening, and exhausting, there also are flashes of possibility, imagination, and curiosity to design again rather than return to an old design that was built for a different time. Why are we feeling hopeful? Well, for starters, we have noticed the national trend toward empathy. Community members with kids at home are empathizing with the daily challenges of...

A Turbulent Flight into a New World of Learning

It was July 2007 and I was on a red-eye flight from Argentina to San Antonio. Halfway into the flight...BAM! A loud noise ignited causing the plane to shake. Instantaneously, passengers awoke in a panic and unconscious state of mind. As I awoke my first thought was, "Please let this be a dream." To my displeasure, it was not. As I braced for the worst, panicked and dysregulated, I tried to keep a level head....

7 Questions to Ask in Our Transition Plans

First published on Digigogy and reprinted with permission. It’s been a little over a month for many school communities and we’re still facing weeks, if not months, of continued remote learning. But we also have our sights set on what’s next as we prepare for what is after right now. We’re grappling with some old questions that now have a renewed focus: How do we invite students into the plan? Listening to and acting on student...

Building the Future Now: Deciding What to Cut, What to Keep and What to Create

By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison ZmudaPart Two in a Four-Part Series  As the school year is winding to a close and everyone is desperate for a break, looking toward the opening of school next year is already causing unease. Throughout the world, educators face a critical challenge: how to design aspirational and future forward (post-pandemic) learning experiences rather than a temporary fix (triage). In our first blogpost in this four part series, we proposed...

Remote Learning, Week 2: Thinking about Writing as Choices

This post was first published on #MasonPLJourney and is reprinted with permission. One thing I tried: My English teacher heroes beyond MHS, Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle, recently published a terrific piece called "The curse of helicopter teaching" in ASCD. In it they argue, "When students haven't been required to wrestle with difficult writing decisions--and when much of that decision making has been done by the teacher—they lose their sense of agency and their confidence...

Remote Learning, Week 1: Self-Discovery through Writing

  This post was first published on #MasonPLJourney and is reprinted with permission. One thing I tried: As we started remote learning I realized that focusing on our content was going to be a mistake. For one there was almost a three-week gap between our last in-class lesson and our first online lesson. It didn’t really make sense to pick up like nothing had happened. And as we started there were still such dire warnings...

How Will We Return to School? Curriculum Choices in the Face of COVID19

By Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Allison Zmuda   First in a Four-Part Series on Transition*   In the midst of wide-ranging, remote learning efforts during this initial triage phase of the COVID19 crisis, there is a clarion call emerging: What do we do next? The impact of a summer vacation may seem to provide some relief but will likely prove problematic. What we don’t know. When the return to on-site school will commence. Geographically where and...

Are You Up for a Design Challenge? Wicked Problems for Post-Pandemic School Redesign

  By Eric Chagala, Aaron Roberts, and Allison Zmuda The new liberal art of design thinking is turning to the modality of impossibility… what many people call "impossible" may actually only be a limitation of imagination that can be overcome by better design thinking. This is not thinking directed toward a technological "quick fix" in hardware but toward new integrations of signs, things, actions, and environments that address the concrete needs and values of human...