Reimagining Curriculum

Nurturing the Seeds of Talent and Passion within Learners

When I was twenty years old, I was standing in Benton Hall at Miami University, talking with my education professor...
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Nurturing the Seeds of Talent and Passion within Learners

Paying Attention to Life Skills as Part of Regular Instructional Practice

Zoe Zmuda -- a sophomore in high school -- created this YouTube video as a culminating artifact to reflect on...
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Paying Attention to Life Skills as Part of Regular Instructional Practice

Honoring “The Why” in Unit Design and Instruction

Over the past few years of teaching English to high school juniors, I have become increasingly aware of the competitive...
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Honoring “The Why” in Unit Design and Instruction

Letting Students Make the Choice

Rick Gifford knew that a worksheet where students define words and then use them in a sentence wasn’t the most...
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Letting Students Make the Choice

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.

Nurturing the Seeds of Talent and Passion within Learners

When I was twenty years old, I was standing in Benton Hall at Miami University, talking with my education professor after our 7 p.m. night class. While talking with my professor, I remember having a passionate conversation about the importance of nurturing and coaching students as they formed their own convictions. Looking back now, I realize that for a twenty-year-old, I spoke on this topic with unearned confidence and innocent assurance. Yet, despite this, I...

Paying Attention to Life Skills as Part of Regular Instructional Practice

Zoe Zmuda -- a sophomore in high school -- created this YouTube video as a culminating artifact to reflect on how education leaders (from classroom to consultant) pay attention to life skills as part of regular instructional practice. Points discussed within the video: the many types of life skills that should be fostered from an early age why these skills are crucial for students and later in life, and how they correspond to Habits of Mind...

Honoring “The Why” in Unit Design and Instruction

Over the past few years of teaching English to high school juniors, I have become increasingly aware of the competitive nature of our students’ post-secondary opportunities. With so many students planning to be engineers, architects, accountants and the like, I have realized that I, as a high school English teacher to juniors, have to do more work and spend more time in making my course as relevant to students as possible. To be honest, I have...

Letting Students Make the Choice

Rick Gifford knew that a worksheet where students define words and then use them in a sentence wasn’t the most engaging way for them to learn and practice math vocabulary. He wanted to spruce things up and give his students some choice, but he was struggling to come up with engaging and interesting ideas. So, he asked his students for help. "Hey, everyone. There’s got to be better ways for us to practice vocabulary. Let’s...

Wading into the Water of Personalized Learning

Writing this on the second day of school, I don't mind sharing that I am happily exhausted! This feeling is the result of my own passion for teaching and the collaborative energy happening inside my classroom. To those of you who don't know me personally, please know I'm not one to think that every day of instruction in my classroom will be or is perfect. To be honest, during that first day, I modified one...

Making Room at the Table: How to Create Student Voice During IEP Meetings

Student led IEP meetings are meaningful opportunities for students to develop agency, self-advocacy skills and be powerful members of their team. Yet, many educators, families, and students become overwhelmed in how to begin to cultivate this as part of regular practice. How do we make room at the table for students to become self-advocates in the design of their own learning? Early in my teaching career, I was setting up an IEP meeting, collecting some...

A Play-By-Play Strategy for Co-Creating Curriculum with Students

This month's newsletter features Sam Nelson, a middle school teacher in Vermont who has been prototyping with his students to co-create social studies curriculum. This video narrated by Sam describes how he created a design and student community that shaped units together for the class. He is now in Year 3 of this endeavor and the play-by-play strategy is even clearer in his mind because of the feedback and results from his students. Sam and...

How Do People Make Decisions When Faced With Uncertainty?

In February of this year, we were honored to host best-selling author, in-demand decision strategist and World Series of Poker bracelet holder Annie Duke for our 11th grade Humanities Course - Viewpoints on Modern America. Annie was a marvelous guest, presenting VERY complicated information in a casual and engaging way. Her 2018 book, Thinking in Bets, was a natural fit for our annual unit based on the Roaring ’20s, the Crash of 1929, the Meltdown...

What Should Our Kids Know and Be Able to Do?

This post first appeared on Reading By Example and is reprinted with permission. The art of reinvention will be the most critical skill of this century. - Yuval Noah Harari This is a question that my current district is wrestling with (along with everyone else?). I wrote an article that appeared in Choice Literacy’s newsletter today that briefly addressed this topic. David Perkins describes a curriculum that is worth learning for today’s students as "lifeworthy." Summarizing his...

Using Design Thinking to Set the Vision for a Career Superhighway

First published on Next Gen Learning and reprinted with permission. Envisioning a career superhighway in Vista, CA through empathy interviews with students. Setting an effective vision for the future is a tricky business. It has to start with a kernel of an idea but must allow sufficient space for the community to develop it into an organic representation of the desired future state. The purpose of this blog post is to provide the second status...