Revising and Refining the Curriculum Maps



1. Content


§          Use nouns or noun phrases for what the student is learning during the month.

§          Focus on themes, topics, issues, problems or works of literature. (ex. Egypt)

§          Avoid chapter number, chapter headings or page numbers.

§          Use essential questions to focus the content.

§          Effective examples of content:

English: Genre: Science Fiction; Read “The Scarlet Ibis

Applied Math II: Measures of Central Tendency or Linear Equations

§          Ineffective content:

Short Stories

pp. 31-38


2. Skills


What will the student do to learn the content?

§          Write as action verbs as precisely as possible.

§          Level of skill should match level of study. (ex. identify)

§          Skills and activities are not the same.

§          Include the skills you will emphasize; don’t put everything from the lesson plan

§          Focus on the skills the student will learn not the activities the teacher will do.

§          Some skills cross the disciplines: writing, editing, reading, organizational, technology skills, communication skills, etc.

§          Effective examples of skills:

Calculate the area, volume and mass of an object using metrics.

Determine the causes of the Protestant Reformation.

§          Ineffective examples of skills:

Do the problems at the end of the chapter.

Memorize spelling words.



3. Assessment

§          Write as nouns or noun phrases

§          Assessments and skills need to go hand in hand

§          Type of assessment should match the level of study (ex. reports)

§          Be specific and descriptive

§          Effective examples of assessment:

Journal: “A day in the Life of a Crab”

Test on forms of art

§          Ineffective examples of assessment:


Lab assignments


“If you design a more engaging assessment, you may get a better performance”


4. Things to add

§          ESLR focus: how do the ESLRs fit into the picture?

§          Essential questions to focus the learning experience and differentiate it from other levels



§            Coherent Design



Starting over, the immigrant experience

Essential Question

What makes people immigrate?


Consumer level skills


Producer level skills


read primary sources for information


analyze the validity of the information


read a demographic map








note cards


critique sheet


labeled map


position paper


narrative report on an immigrant experience


round table discussion




Essential Questions


An essential question is the sum of what you believe students should examine and know in the short time they have with you. Essential questions are a creative choice, but they are also a pragmatic conceptual commitment that frames what you will teach and what you will leave out.
Essential questions help the learner focus, remember more, and remember it better. Without essential questions we just have a lot of “stuff” on a topic.


Essential questions should:

Essential Questions are not simply rewritten versions of the teaching objectives.


The 2-5 questions per set should follow a logical sequence and should be written so that students can understand them.


The questions can be overarching (How can I become a better reader?), situational (What is it that makes a story great? How can I buy things in a Spanish market?), or authentic (How does my community affect my life? What do I owe my community -- or do I?)




Some examples


What were the causes of WWII? (common question)

Was WWII inevitable? (better)


Everyday Physics: Transportation Safety

How can cars, boats, and airplanes become safer for passengers 

How can principles of force and motion help driver effectiveness and safety?

Are safety and speed compatible?


12th grade-Physics course-seminar model 6 week cycle



How will I ever learn to multiply?

 Where will I ever use multiplication?


Second and Third grade (multigrade classroom) - three week intensive



What flies?

How and why do things in nature fly?

How does flight impact human beings?

What is the future of flight?


Fourth grade


Prejudice and Tolerance

What are the different kinds of human prejudice?

 How can tolerance be taught?

 What has been the impact of individual and group prejudice?

 How can I become more tolerant?


8th grade-interdisciplinary team-thematic unit



Essential Questions












































































ิิิิิิำำInformation adapted from Mapping the Big Picture training materials by Heide Hayes-Jacobs