Curriculum Mapping consists of the process of collecting and maintaining a database or an accessible document of the operational curriculum in a school or district. The database or accessible document is essential as it allows the basis for continuous evaluation of the curricula. The outcomes of curriculum mapping are as follows:
- Alignment of curricula, assessments, and instructional practices with the Next Generation Standards (or applicable standards for specific content areas).
- Creating curricula that support 21st-century teaching and learning and the social-emotional development of our students, while connecting school, state, and national initiatives.
- Aligning all instructional curriculum mapping components, including Learning Targets, Essential Questions, Big Ideas, Unit Time Frames, Skills, Activities, and Resources.
Components of the Curriculum Map(s)
Time Frame of Unit
Teams indicate the time frame of the unit — specifically, the specific weeks or months the unit will be taught.
Teams align grade-level content to the New York State standards. Standards define the skills and knowledge students must have to be literate and prepared for college work and life.
Overview of Content in Units
Curriculum maps are living documents that are updated on a regular basis. Each unit includes an overview of knowledge expected to be learned in a specific timeframe. These maps set expectations for delivery of instruction and assessment of student learning.
Open-ended questions provide an opportunity for students to think critically and inquire about the content they are studying. Essential questions include the following qualities:
- Are open-ended; that is, it typically will not have a single, final, and correct answer.
- Are thought-provoking and intellectually engaging, often sparking discussion and debate.
- Call for higher-order thinking, such as analysis, inference, evaluation, prediction. It cannot be effectively answered by recall alone.
- Point toward important, transferable ideas within (and sometimes across) disciplines.
- Raise additional questions and sparks further inquiry.
- Require support and justification, not just an answer.
- Recur over time; that is, the question can and should be revisited again and again.
Objectives describe what students are expected to learn as a result of instruction. Learning targets are objectives that are written in student-friendly language. These targets focus the learning and clearly describe what students will learn and be able to do by the end of a class, unit, project, or even a course. Teachers post learning targets for each lesson and take time to identify key vocabulary and intended outcomes.
Delivery of Instruction
While curriculum is the organization of content, instruction is how the teacher plans time and activities to engage students in the learning. Effective delivery of instruction includes “hooking” the students into the lesson, providing clear directions, asking questions, using wait time and calling on all students, pacing the learning and then assessing student understanding.
The curriculum maps include resources and materials that support the standards and course outlines. Students have access to online instructional platforms, as well as hard copy textbooks, workbooks, and fictional and nonfictional documents and books, as well as other materials. Each student is issued a Chromebook to access online learning.
Description of Assessments
The purpose of all assessments is for teachers to find out how well students understand the skills and content taught. It also allows teachers to know whether or not the goals they set for the students are being met. Assessments come in many shapes and sizes and are intended to assist teachers in recognizing areas of strengths, gaps or deficiencies in learning in their students so that instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of all learners.
Curriculum maps offer a long term overview of what will be taught in a semester or year for each course or content area. Use of these maps ensures that the learning standards and content for each course are aligned and complement one another regardless of which educator is teaching the course. The maps also allow educators to keep track of what students have been taught and what learning comes next.
The Big Next Step
Curriculum maps are fluid documents that are adjusted and revised on a continual basis. Our Leader in Me, SEL program, is part of this work as we include the 7 Health Habits language into the maps and classrooms. Maps include strategies to support all learners and take into consideration resources that are culturally responsive and appropriate for students. As we accomplish these two tasks, we strengthen and provide an equitable curricula this are aligned to the NYS standards.