A Step-by-Step Guide: Creating Amazing Curriculum for Your Students

When it comes to teaching, preparation is crucial. With great curriculum planning you will feel more confident and your student will be more engaged. Here are some ideas to help you to map out a winning teaching plan.

Consider your vision

When crafting a vision for a course, consider the following:  Why am I teaching this course? What does my student need to know by the end of this course? What kinds of things does my student need to learn how to do?

For example, in developing curriculum for an 8th grade English language arts course, I think specifically about what I want my student to get out of the class. Perhaps, in my English class I want my students to engage in interesting texts of both fiction and nonfiction that will challenge them, help them become better critical thinkers, and develop writing skills that will prepare them for high school and beyond.

Standards, Learning Objectives, Common Core, Oh My!

To bring your vision into something more concrete you may want to consult the Common Core Standards for what a student should know in a specific domain/grade level for English language arts and mathematics. For guidance in social studies, teachers may consult the National Standards for Social Studies or the History-Social Science Standards for California Public Schools (if your student is in California). For guidance in science, teachers may consult the Next Generation Science Standards.

Individualizing for your student

Next, you’ll want to consider the particular needs of your student. Has your student been categorized as “gifted”? Maybe a quicker paced curriculum is appropriate. Or, perhaps your student has certain learning difficulties or needs that will require you to slow down or approach instruction differently. Also, try to take into consideration the interests of your student and weave them into your curriculum planning, as appropriate. This is important because an interested student is more willing and apt to learn.

Resources

“Don’t reinvent the wheel!” is a common saying in education, and for good reason. You don’t necessarily need to develop curriculum from scratch. This could take hours of your time that could be better spent fine tuning already developed curriculum to suit your student’s needs.

Just be careful to select well-researched resources that are backed by current best practices.

Some of our favorite resources to consult are Amazon (you can find workbooks, textbooks, and more!), Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, Globalizing Common Core, Newsela, and EngageNY.

Break it Down!

After you’ve determined your vision, selected appropriate standards to utilize, have considered the needs of your student, and have a pile of resources at your fingertips, your next step is to “break it down” or chunk learning into units. To do this, consider how long you have to complete the course. For example, if your course is twelve weeks in length, you may decide to develop four separate units that each last three weeks.

This article has been written by Mel Nichols.