Assembling a Team
As we saw in the previous chapter, creating a curriculum map requires a great deal of effort, and there’s no way that you should be expected to do it all by yourself! You’ll need to involve various people within your school district’s community in order to create complete curriculum maps.
As Heidi Hayes Jacobs explains below on building a Curriculum Task Force – take a look:
Professional Learning Community
Consider creating a professional learning community (PLC) to create your curriculum maps. This should be one of the core tasks that this community should accomplish for the benefit of everyone involved. Being able to highlight to each stakeholder how their involvement will not only benefit themselves, but the community as a whole. This is a great way to get buy-in for a project of this scale that will impact everyone whether they’re directly involved or not.
Your leadership team includes members of the PLC, teachers who are interested in curriculum renewal, teachers from a variety of grades and departments, at least one administrator, and a member of your technical support team. It is important that the leadership team is identified and understands and support the process of curriculum mapping. This team leads and supports the mapping process. They maintain a focus on student centred goals through the review process. They will become professional experts on the characteristics of their schools’ maps and teachers’ needs from the maps, will need to find answers to questions, and provide feedback for teachers.
Beyond the leadership team, many other people in your school will be involved in the curriculum mapping process:
- Administrators – You’ll need to involve the administrators of your school district in this process. They will want to know how you are preparing the curriculum maps. Their role is to consistently motivate the school. This occurs when curriculum mapping is included in school plans and policies, communicated frequently, connections are made between mapping and other initiatives, obstacles are addressed, and the data collected is used to conduct teacher based discussion and in making curriculum decisions.
- Technical Support – You may need to use different software tools to create the curriculum maps, or need to know if certain activities are possible given the technology available within the classroom
- Teachers – Your teachers will both create and use the curriculum maps that are developed. Therefore it’s essential to involve them throughout the process to ensure that what you are creating actually meets their needs. Each teacher should provide feedback to their peers as well as receive feedback. They will use the curriculum maps for horizontal and vertical curriculum alignment and the selection of professional development. The curriculum maps will be used to identify how content and skills are smoothly developed from year to year.
Project Management Tips
- Communication – Each of the groups mentioned in the previous section will have different communication requirements. We recommend asking each group for the method in which they would like to be contacted (email, phone, etc.) and the level of detail that they require. Then create separate communication plans and timelines for each group involved in the curriculum mapping process.
- Budget management – The curriculum mapping process will require some form of budget, even just in the form of hours of work from your team. You may also use a software tool to help in the curriculum mapping process. Estimate your costs based on the budget for the last time curriculum was developed, or a similar sized project that your school completed.
- Time management – You will need to ensure that your schedule accounts for the work that is being completed by each member of your team. Some activities will depend on others, which makes this process more complicated. It is important that you identify what activities need to be completed to create your curriculum maps, who should do each activity, approximately how long each activity will take, and the sequence in which they must be done. Once you have created your schedule, manage your team by ensuring deadlines are met, otherwise the curriculum mapping process may take much longer than expected!
- Scope management – Make sure that your entire team knows exactly what type of curriculum map you will be creating and how robust the maps will be. You don’t want to be caught in a situation when an administrator expects greater and greater detail in the curriculum maps, which prevents them from ever being completed. Be clear about the scope of your curriculum maps from the very beginning to prevent this.
Keeping Your Team Motivated
Curriculum mapping can be a long process, which is why many schools revisit their curriculum after many years of use. However, we encourage you to revisit your curriculum maps every year, allowing you to keep up with the changing standards, teaching methods, and world events. This helps to ensure that your students are given the best education as possible in your school.
Once the curriculum map has been created, it becomes much easier to modify it the next year.
But this process is not easy, and takes away from teaching time. So how do you convince your team that this is something that should be done often? Consider sharing the following benefits with your team:
- Once the curriculum map has been created, it becomes much easier to modify it the next year.
- Using technology for your curriculum mapping process saves a significant amount of time and makes your maps easy to share with all teachers.
- Revisiting your curriculum maps allows you to better prepare for, and learn from the results of standardized testing.
- Doing your own curriculum mapping helps to increase student learning beyond the textbook.