Once school is out for summer, teachers are able to take a small break from their daily grind and enjoy the summer sun. However, unlike students, teachers really do not typically kick up their feet for the entire summer “vacation”. In fact, many teachers end up teaching summer school, attending conferences, redesigning their curriculum, going to school/district meetings or even picking up a summer job.
Redesigning school curriculum is typically on every teacher’s summer agenda. With standards changing, new classes being taught, and a desire to fit student needs better, there is something that can always be improved.
Here at Outliers Publishing, we not only employ teachers to help us create great online courses and free curriculum, we have a great respect for all they do. With that, we would like to make your life easier by offering 5 helpful tips to transform your school curriculum.
- Discover new teaching and learning strategies. Teaching is constantly evolving with changing technology and research. Take the time to study behaviors of highly effective teachers and different ways students learn. Knowledge is power, not only for students but for teachers too. The more teachers know about how to better reach their students, the easier their job will be. Some research may even involve classroom management tips (see our proactive tips here and reactive tips here) or how to create a culture of learning in the classroom.
- Reach out to other teachers who have taught the same class. No one has all the time in the world to re-invent the wheel. Reach out to teachers to see if they have noticed something that has been successful in their class. Maybe the teacher has some projects or activities that students have really thrived with.
- Immerse students in hands-on inquiry and open-ended exploration. This is easier said than done. However, when teachers are able to let students discover a concept on their own, they are not only more engaged, but typically remember the concept easier. For teachers who are not sure where to start on creating hands-on inquiry lessons, click here. One thing teachers need to not be afraid of with these types of questions is that students will struggle. Struggling is not a bad thing. It forces them to think, be creative and work together to come to a solution.
- Have a healthy mix of group and individual work throughout the class. Introverts can get lost in group learning because they typically take a longer time to process what they need to say. Therefore, it is important to have a healthy mix of group and individual work to help each type of student learn.
- Add formative assessments into the lessons. These are great ways for a teacher to get an idea of how the learning and teaching is going. This instant feedback can help a teacher decide whether to redo a problem or to keep trucking along. It is important to take note of if a change to the curriculum is going well or not. Daily documentation of each lesson and notes for future tweaks, will help a teacher be able to adjust lessons later.
Regardless of how a teacher decides to lead their class, curriculum development takes a good amount of time and should be planned out. In addition, teachers should not be afraid to collaborate when creating curriculum because it is always a great idea to bounce ideas off one another and have a second opinion involved.
We would love to hear from you! What are some things that have helped you transform your curriculum? Comment below and share on social media with the hasthtags #curriculumredevelopment and #outlierseries.
Lastly, Outlier TV will be posting videos that highlight many helpful career tips. Check out the first video with John Shufeldt interviewing outlier Maribeth Sublette about how she became an awesome teacher at a young age!