Co-Creating the Unit Template for the End User

If you're going to streamline your curriculum, you have to begin with streamlining your template.
Allison Zmuda presenting in front of Newport News.

What does the curriculum template communicate to the end user?

Does it clarify what is most important? Is it accessible and approachable for a range of staff members? Is it designed to prompt learner fascination, investigation, and creation?

OR is the template exhaustive? Trying to cover too much, with too many components, and too many options. Which in turn exhausts both the curriculum designers and the end user.

Streamlining the curriculum starts with streamlining the curriculum template.

I am thrilled to work with the teaching and learning team in Newport News to clarify what is most important based on state standards, backward design, UDL, instructional, subject area goals, instructional pedagogy, and portrait of a learner.

The first unit template prototype was grass roots — every subject area team was able to draft their ideal version and drafted a unit example to share with focus groups of teachers. Based on teacher feedback, we spent a full day curating the unit template components.

The energy in the room was incredible and the leaders were buoyed by their collective commitment to design learning that matters for everyone.

As we continue to hone the unit template, our revisions our inspired by the following criteria for the end user:

  • Is it clear and accessible? Would a range of staff understand it?
  • Is it compelling? Is it organized around relevant concepts, skills, and challenges?
  • Is it user-friendly? Does it provide a curated set of goals, tasks, and learning experiences?
  • Is it doable? Does the estimated pacing reflect the complexity of the topics and the heterogeneity of the students in the classroom?

Learn more about Curriculum Storyboards, developed with Heidi Hayes Jacobs as a part of our co-authored book, Streamlining the Curriculum: Using the Storyboard Approach to Frame Compelling Learning Journeys.

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