Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Unpacking" to plan forward

As I look around our school, a few days into the year, I observe thoughtful planning in regards to establishing routines and expectations for a positive, productive school year. I realize how much time, effort, and consideration has been spent by teachers to set students up for success. This same "strategic care" will be put into units for all of our students to grow socially, emotionally, and academically the rest of the year.

As a district, we are fully immersed in learning Assessment for Learning strategies and conceptual-based unit design.  We are beginning to re-visit differentiation with a new lens based on our new learning.  This morning I came across a familiar resource I hadn't looked at for awhile, and there on page 60 a portion jumped out at me.  The resource is Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn R. Jackson.  The portion was in regards to differentiation when unpacking your learning goals. Her passage reads:
The second important reason for determining whether a goal is a content or process goal is that making this determination can help you find ways to differentiate your instruction so that more of your students can access the curriculum and achieve the learning goal.  If the goal is asking students to master content, then you have quite a bit of flexibility  on how students learn the content. If the goal is asking students to master a process, you have flexibility in the content you can use.

I am not sure if it was the simplistic manner in which it was written that sparked the aha, or the organized thinking in regards to separating or "unpacking" learning goals into two categories (content or process).  Either way it was a passage that really helped me to reflect while unpacking learning goals and standards, so that moving forward ALL my students will have access to the curriculum.

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