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NYC Helpline: How To: How To Collaboratively Design Year Long Curriculum Maps

How To Collaboratively Design Year Long Curriculum Maps  Sarah Picard

At the end of each school year many schools provide planning days for teachers to map out their curriculum for the following school year. Teachers gather to talk about what went well in the current school year and areas for improvement. Often these conversations lead to changes in a school's curriculum, but sometimes they can turn into a complaint session with no real solutions proposed. This "how-to" will help teachers understand what it means to have a collaborative discussion about a curriculum map.

First, teachers need to agree on a place and time for their meeting; this information needs to be posted in a central location so all teachers who wish to come to the meeting can arrange their schedules accordingly. Once everyone gathers for the meeting, it is important that all who attend understand the focus. Whether your team is meeting to plan the 11th grade social studies map or the second grade writing map, all those sitting around the table need to understand the importance of sticking with the conversation focus.

Although everyone may agree on a common focus, communication at these kinds of meetings can sometimes break down. A tuning protocol will help insure that each teacher's voice is heard and that conversation sticks to the topic. For example, my colleagues and I on the second grade team at P.S. 126 recently met to talk about our grade level reading map. We made a triple journal chart that listed the following:

Each teacher at the meeting had a chance to speak, adding lessons to the unit, giving a reflection on the unit and providing possible solutions. It is especially important to add that during the 'possible solutions' conversation, no idea is immediately dismissed. It is seen as a brainstorm phase. The process of using this tuning protocol helped our conversation grow, and each teacher felt represented when we looked at the chart we had created.


Please feel free to e-mail with any additional questions!


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