The Curriculum Map is a planning tool for teams of educators to collaboratively design curriculum around a big idea and academic standards, and then develop assessments and organize instructional activities to be more aligned and coherent with those standards. The tool is based on a backwards design process, which is an opportunity to really unpack-what the new standards mean, and then select meaningful, worthwhile content. To get started, gather your existing curriculum materials and instructional resources and bring them to your initial team meeting (i.e, standards documents, pacing guides, textbooks, science kits, etc.)
- First, your teacher team should select a big core content idea and generate an essential question that is rich enough to support extended, cross-curricular exploration.
- Then teachers should select the standards that best align with the big idea and essential question.
- Next, design a series of assessment tasks that will generate learning evidence for achieving the standards and aligned assessment criteria.
- Finally, teams will organize a series of scaffolded and conceptually connected instructional activities and resources to help students uncover, understand, and apply main concepts and skills in projects and embedded performance assessment tasks.
The tool is most effective in the beginning stages of curriculum design if it has been developed by your whole teacher team. After the initial outline has been set, the map can be further developed online between meetings. Each step may take several dedicated collaborative planning periods of work, with some additional follow-up conversations through email, commenting, or additional in-person meetings. There are several additional tools in the PBL Tools set that focus on the various steps of completing the sections of the Curriculum Map (i.e., NGSS Starter Activity, Assessment Design Activity, and Assessment Review Protocol).
The Curriculum Map is primarily a planning tool, but a finished version that reflects your enacted curriculum can be used for summary reporting to administrators and to share your curriculum work with colleagues. After you complete a draft of the Curriculum Map, it can be useful to use the PBL Checklist to evaluate the specific PBL element of authenticity, voice and choice, etc. This Curriculum Map has embedded links for helpful just-in-time coaching tips and resources for the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards. Teams can use this template to map out their curriculum on paper, on a whiteboard with sticky notes, or on a digital platform like Google.docs, which provides an immediately accessible, digital, and shareable version.