In order to identify what you want to capture in your written curriculum, one of our favorite curriculum consultants (winking at you Kelby Zenor) likes to remind folks to “make sure that it’s practical, relevant and integrated.”
Practical in the sense that it demonstrates what is really happening in the classroom (in terms of teaching practices).
Relevant in that the curriculum encompasses the needs of students and teachers based on their current understandings as well as the global needs.
Integrated in that the curriculum includes the different initiatives creating a holistic picture of the curriculum experience.
The Ursuline School, in New York, has taken this approach to heart in refining their list of Assessment Methods in Atlas. Their goal was to ensure that the Assessment Methods used to document the curriculum accurately reflected the way teachers thought about and used assessments in their classrooms.
How did they do this?
Step 1: The administrative team read deeply about assessments and from that research drafted a list of potential Assessments Methods.
Step 2: Next, they turned to a core team of teachers and asked them to review their list of assessment methods with the document below, which explains their reasons for documenting assessments, lists their drafted Assessment Methods (based on the default options of Assessment Methods in Atlas), and asks for comments and additional suggestions.
The core team of teachers had the opportunity to review the Assessment Methods closely and think about how those options aligned with the assessments they actually used. The team was also able to ask questions, share their thinking, and make suggestions
Step 3: The administrative team customized the list of Assessment Methods within Atlas to reflect the feedback from teachers
Step 4: To ensure that all their teachers had a common understanding of how to document assessments, the Assessment Methods, and naming protocols, administrators scheduled a morning PD session. In this session, teachers were given an opportunity to review the list of Assessment Methods and ask clarifying questions. Finally, teachers were given time to collaborate on how to assess student learning in a meaningful way and begin creating assessments in Atlas!
Including teacher input in the process of setting up your Atlas system helps ensure the documented curriculum is practical and relevant–key factors in successfully implementing a long term curriculum process.