Workshop: Making The Established Curriculum Work For You

(90 minutes)

I. Introductions (15 minutes)
  • Quickly introduce yourself to the people at your table
  • Presenter introductions and backgrounds
  • Review agenda (Available at sign-in table)
  • What is this workshop about?
  • Our goals

II. How is curriculum selected? (5 minutes)
  • Curriculum Directors
  • Committees to Review and Select
  • However, there are some unavoidable outside influences…

III. The impact of textbook publishers (5 minutes)
  • Textbook publishers cater to the majority
  • Too expensive to publish separate editions for each state
  • States such as Texas have a strong influence based on population

IV. Small Group Breakout (15 minutes)
  • Texas recently adopted new educational policies
  • Review the selected articles
  • Discuss how these changes will affect your classroom, your school, etc.
  • Record your observations on butcher paper around the room

V. Break (10 Minutes)

VI. Share Small Group Conclusions (15 minutes)

VII. Making the curriculum work for you (20 minutes)
  • “Modify and Adapt” – Madeline Hunter
  • Be a packrat – Don’t throw it away!
  • Supplement, Supplement, Supplement
  • Get involved

VIII. Recap (5 minutes)

Making The Established Curriculum Work For You
Workshop Details

Introduce you to some potentially troubling changes in social studies curriculum, and how we as educators are affected. Also, we would like to present some options for dealing with curriculum changes and choices.

What this workshop is about:
Choosing appropriate curriculum materials is a significant responsibility which will have long-term impact on the effectiveness of your staff, the ease of future teacher enlistment, the immediate quality of education the children will receive, and the long-term attitude toward educational pursuits on the part of the children. However, as teachers we don’t always have a choice on what curriculum we will be teaching. This workshop will present some options and alternatives to the prescribed curriculum.

How is curriculum selected?
The impact of textbook publishers
Small Group Breakout
Share Small Group Conclusions
Making the curriculum work for you

How is curriculum selected:
Curriculum Directors –
Provide effective and dynamic leadership in program innovation for administrators, teachers, and parents.
Provide leadership and direction to all regular education programs.
Communicate the district’s vision, goals and long-range plans for curriculum and instruction to staff, students, parents, and the community-at-large.
Steer district-wide curriculum initiatives, effectively involving administrators and staff in workshops, seminars, program evaluations, and community presentations.

Direct and coordinate the work of the curriculum teams K-12.
Develop and coordinate staff development and in-service programs that align School Improvement Plans and staff Individual Improvement Plans with multi-year plans for curriculum renewal and improved academic achievement.
Promote technological literacy through the integration of computers and computer technology into the classroom.
Develop, monitor and evaluate the district educational program, Pre-Kindergarten- Grade 12.
Plan, coordinate and facilitate the development of new educational programs and instructional techniques.
Provide for the ongoing evaluation of programs and services and make recommendations regarding changes whenever appropriate;
Maintain up-to-date curriculum compendia and implementation plans; and
Work closely with principals, other school administrators, and teachers to improve, evaluate, and assess current curricula and related teaching materials.
Recommend to curriculum councils new curriculums for review and assessment.
Improve instructional methods, teaching strategies and remedial techniques in all subject areas.
Promote mainstreaming of special needs students into all curriculum areas and in all student activities.
Ensure all students achieve basic skill levels in the areas of critical reasoning, reading, writing, listening, speaking, computation, scientific inquiry, data management, technology, artistic impression, health and physical education.
Manage the district’s testing programs.
Interpret state and local testing data relative to the achievement in all program areas and present findings and recommendations to the school community and community-at-large.
Maintain open communications with the staff, the School Committee, and the community around all programmatic issues;
Represent the district at meetings of local, state, and national organizations;
Coordinate and administer the district's summer work activities.

Selection and Review Committees:
Can be at the school level or district level.
Composed of teachers, administrators and others who review and select curriculum.
Often are faced with an almost overwhelming assortment of choices.
May not have the opportunity to review every option in depth.

The impact of textbook publishers:
Textbook publishers cater to the majority. States such as Texas have a strong influence on textbook publishers based on population. It would be too expensive for publishers to create separate editions for each state. So, when a state like Texas adopts new educational policies, these changes filter down into every other state. Even if those policies do not mesh with another state’s policy, that state may have no option but to purchase the textbook written for Texas.

Small Group Breakout:
Texas recently adopted new educational policies – specifically related to social studies curriculum.
Discuss how these changes will affect your classroom, your school, etc. If your school were to purchase new textbooks, how would your teaching have to change? What are some options for compensating for the change?

Other Points to Consider:
Good curriculum should be Educationally Sound:
What is the educational philosophy underlying the curriculum plan? It should provide a comprehensive, balanced approach to learning, supporting all age groups in life-long learning. New concepts should build on previously-learned material while challenging the pupil to learn new concepts. Materials should be attractive and inviting, and compare favorably with other learning aids the pupil is accustomed to using in the school setting.

Good curriculum should be Developmentally Appropriate:
Curriculum for a specific age group should consider the reading skills and other developmental attributes of the learners. Lessons for younger children should avoid symbolism and abstract concepts because they are still concrete thinkers; their minds are not yet capable of abstract thought.

Good curriculum should be Considerate of Learner Diversity:
Curriculum should support a variety of approaches to learning through activities that actively involve the pupil, such as drama, story-telling, art, music, maps and pictures, games, etc. The pupils in any class bring a diverse set of backgrounds, abilities, learning styles, personalities, and personal preferences, all of which affect how that individual pupil will learn best. In addition, studies have shown that exposure to a variety of learning approaches results in significantly better appropriation and retention of concepts and attitudes.

Consider also curriculum support for children with special needs. Typically material for younger children can be adapted for those with learning disabilities. Availability of supplemental materials for hearing- or visually-impaired children is another consideration. Look for curriculum guidance and suggestions in this area.


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