This video is part of a longer series

To help you learn more about curriculum mapping, Chalk has partnered with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs to bring you 3 informative on-demand webinars on the planning process. Watch these informational webinars here!

Note: This is a transcript that you can follow for the content in the videos available. We hope that they help you!

Heidi Hayes Jacobs: In Latin, curriculum means a path to run in small steps, a course to run. I love that meaning. And in a sense, what you’re doing is you’re making choices about the pathway for your learners.

What is curriculum mapping?

Heidi Hayes Jacobs: I like to think of mapping, it’s a step-by-step approach, but I like to think of it as a coin with two sides. One side of the coin are the maps themselves, and we will talk about different degrees of detail on those maps, the documentation. But it’s the other side of the coin that matters. It’s the review process. In other words, mapping is a verb. It’s a strategic design and review process. I can put it even more directly. Having maps won’t help your learners. Using them will!


Role of Standards

In this next video, Dr. Jacobs dives into the clarifying the role of standards when mapping.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs: The other thing is establishing priority standards because the one thing about standards is there’s a lot of them. And the idea of a standard is to target a spine that’s scaffolded and organized, clearly, of proficiency targets. But it is not a checklist. It’s to be used in practice. And so if you can go to the next slide, one of the things that I think is particularly important that you can do is if we take our mission statement… And so here is one that I’m currently working on with a school in Argentina, and they are now moving over to something I really like, which is the role of the students. I like the pedagogy behind that. So if I take one set of those, and so let’s go to the next slide where we can zoom in on that, and you look at, let’s say, learners as agents of change.

And we look at this. We want our students to be global and local ambassadors, engage with others to identify and explore authentic contemporary issues. This is good stuff. Ethical citizens. As you read through this, and you look at the idea of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, this was derived by teachers in that ad hoc team. We are now going through the curriculum on two levels. One, we’re going through the standards and we’re looking at places where we can, in fact, get them traction for these three types of future-forward goals for the roles for our learners, and then develop them in the curriculum. So that for example, if I’m even in something like language, and in this case, it’s English speaking, as well as Spanish speaking, it’s in Argentina. But if I go through the language pieces and there’s an area where they want students to make a claim and support it, they’re looking at including that as a place to deal with the advocacy place. Or we are looking at developing our ability to network and present and share with different audiences. They’re looking at the global possibility.

The point here is the marriage of the standards and the mission to inform the curriculum is really terrific, but you can’t do everything. Next slide please. So we want to clarify the role of standards. They are proficiency targets. They are not curriculum. Why? They don’t tell you what to teach, when to teach and how you’re assessing. Many of the standards are quite language neutral, I mean, pardon me, content neutral in some ways. If I go to English, for example, and I’m English speaker, so I’ll use that one, but I recognize each language has its own. But in English, if I go to those standards, it’s saying they want me to be able to read and respond to narrative and show literary devices used by authors. But they’re not telling me whether I’m reading a book by Saul Bellow or F. Scott Fitzgerald, or I’m looking at Maya Angelou.

The point here is that’s my choice. That’s our choice as a school. And they’re not telling me how to assess it either. Some standards have more content. You’ll see that more explicitly stated in areas like science and social studies, for example. So I recognize that each discipline, each field, has some specific targets, and pardon me, challenges. But what you want to do is you’re going to have to make your priorities because they’re quite overwhelming if we think we’re covering them. You don’t cover standards. In fact, here’s a way of thinking of it. Standards are a list of proficiencies looking for a place to live in your school year, and we want to bundle them. We want to bundle them so that in an assessment, I see that I’m demonstrating that competence in an array of standards bundled together.

So the example of the unit that I posted in Chalk was of TKM, To Kill a Mockingbird. The unit’s called Somebody Else’s Shoes. And in it, there is a really interesting assessment task that students do that meet a bundled set of standards. There are standards in English in that particular state, and it’s part of Common Core actually, where students are to take a writing piece, narrative, and show how the themes in that piece are revealed in another form of art. So in this instance, they’re using Norman Rockwell’s series on Southern Justice and injustice. The visual images are striking. And they’re tying it to Harper Lee’s rendition in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a great assessment. It’s bundled. To do that task will probably be 10, 12 standards that are addressed. So one of the things I think is really good to do in a platform like Chalk is you have easy access to standards and you can draw from them and combine them and align them directly to your assessments. Now, I want to repeat, we’ll do more on this, but I want to kind of give you a heads up.

Learn more about how to work on curriculum mapping with 3 informative on-demand webinars with Dr. Jacobs. Watch them here!