Timeless Practice #5

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What Is A “Rigorous Curriculum”? Here’s my multi-part definition, in bulleted form:

An inclusive set of intentionally aligned components:

  • Clear learning outcomes with matching assessments
  • Engaging learning experiences
  • Differentiated instructional strategies
  • Organized into sequenced units of study

To meet the challenging learning needs of students:

  • Comprehend all the standards
  • Prepare for a variety of formative and summative assessments
  • Demonstrate proficiency on high-stakes state or provincial tests

Educators must have a clear road map to follow throughout the school year. RCD provides that detailed road map to the destination and the high-quality delivery system—the curriculum—for getting there!

SYNOPSIS:

Rigorous Curriculum Design (2010) presents a carefully sequenced, hands-on model that curriculum designers and educators in every school system can follow to create a progression of units of study that keep standards, instruction, and assessment tightly focused and connected.

Applicable to every grade, course, and content area, you will learn:

  • What a rigorous curriculum is and how to create, sequence, and pace such a curriculum
  • Why seeing the “big picture” connections first is essential to beginning curriculum design
  • How to lay the foundational steps for designing a rigorous pre-K–12 curriculum
  • How to design a grade- or course-specific curricular unit of study, from start to finish
  • How to use formative assessments and data analysis to guide instruction before, during, and after each unit
  • How leaders can organize, implement, and sustain this model throughout the school and/or school system.

SYNOPSIS:

Getting Started With Rigorous Curriculum Design (2012) presents nine first-person stories, written by district leaders, describing how they are successfully implementing the RCD process to redesign their curricula. These district narratives, each the focus of its own chapter, will provide you with “collective wisdom”—insights and ideas to enrich and expand your own implementation of this process:

  • Bloomfield Public Schools, Connecticut
  • Anaheim City School District, California
  • Raytown Quality Schools, Missouri
  • McMinnville School District, Oregon
  • West Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut
  • Barstow Unified School District, California
  • Hemet Unified School District, California
  • Guilford County Schools, North Carolina
  • West Haven Public Schools, Connecticut

All chapters include:

  • Why They Started
  • How They Started
  • Where They Are Today
  • Where They Are Going
  • Successes and Challenges
  • Hard Work and Positive Changes
  • Survey Results—What Teachers Are Saying
  • Recommendations for Getting Started

Each chapter concludes with a reflection opportunity for the reader to connect each story to one’s particular setting.

PROCESS:

BUILD A STRONG CURRICULAR FOUNDATION

Just as it is necessary to lay a strong foundation before erecting a physical structure upon it, so is it necessary to first build a strong foundation before designing a fully realized curriculum. Otherwise, curriculum design teams are erecting a superstructure upon an uncertain base. Here is a list of the five sequential foundational steps

  • Prioritive the Standards
  • Name the Units of Study
  • Assign Priority Standards and Supporting Standards
  • Prepare a pacing Calendar
  • Construct the Unit Planning Organizer

Why Larry Created Rigorous Curriculum Design

Larry’s Overview of the RCD Model

PROCESS:

PART ONE: SEEING THE “BIG PICTURE” CONNECTIONS FIRST

  • What is Rigorous Curriculum Design?
  • Connecting Curriculum Design to the “Big Picture”
  • Overview of Curriculum Design Sequence.

PART TWO: BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR DESIGNING CURRICULAR UNITS — 5 STEPS

  • Prioritize the Common Core State Standards.
  • Name the Units of Study.
  • Assign the Common Core State Standards—Priority and Supporting.
  • Prepare a Pacing Calendar.
  • Construct the Unit Planning Organizer.

PART THREE: DESIGNING THE CURRICULAR UNIT OF STUDY – 12 STEPS

  • “Unwrap” the Unit’s Priority CCSS.
  • Create a Graphic Organizer.
  • Decide the Big Ideas and Essential Questions.
  • Create the End-of-Unit Assessment.
  • Create the Unit Pre-Assessment.
  • Identify Additional Vocabulary Terms, Interdisciplinary Connections, and 21st-Century Learning Skills.
  • Plan Engaging Learning Experiences.
  • Gather Instructional Resource Materials.
  • Recommend Effective Instruction, Differentiation, Intervention, Special Education, and English Language Learner Strategies.
  • Detail the Unit Planning Organizer.
  • Create Informal Progress-Monitoring Checks.
  • Write the Weekly Plan; Design the Daily Lessons.

PART FOUR: IMPLEMENTING THE UNIT OF STUDY—14 STEPS

  • Introduce the Unit of Study to Students.
  • Administer the Unit Pre-Assessment.
  • Score and Analyze Student Data.
  • Discuss How to Differentiate Instruction
  • Begin Teaching the Unit.
  • Administer Progress-Monitoring Checks.
  • Differentiate Instruction Based on Progress-Monitoring Checks.
  • Schedule Mid-Unit Evaluation of Instructional Strategies.
  • Continue Teaching the Unit.
  • Continue Modifying and Adjusting Instruction.
  • Administer End-of-Unit Assessment.
  • Score and Analyze Student Data.
  • Enrich, Remediate, and Intervene.
  • Reflect on the Unit.

PROMINENT ENDORSEMENTS:

“In his new book, Larry Ainsworth has tackled one of the most complex and difficult aspects of K-12 education and does so in a way that it’s not only rigorous, but intuitive. It is a welcome and needed contribution to the field.”

Robert J. Marzano
CEO, Marzano Research Laboratory

“Sadly, we rarely encounter the terms rigor and curriculum in the same sentence—much less in a school improvement plan. Happily, Larry Ainsworth’s new book provides a curriculum road map that shows educators how to line up standards, instruction, and assessment sensibly. And his approach simply reeks of rigor!”

W. James Popham
Professor Emeritus, UCLA Graduate School of Education

“Rigorous Curriculum Design should be a required course in every teacher education program in the country. Without it, educators will never see the whole picture that makes up their professional career.”

Gary L. Sacket
Aurora Learning Community Association, Fairview, Oklahoma

“Larry Ainsworth has done it again with a book that is at once sophisticated and practical. As a result of Common Core Standards, curriculum redesign is essential for every school and every grade level. This is the book that offers a practical and rigorous way to move from the theoretical ideal of standards to the practical reality of the classroom.”

Douglas B. Reeves, Ph.D.

BOOK TESTIMONIALS:

WORKSHOP TESTIMONIALS:

From Curriculum Design Teams and District Leaders

WORKSHOP TESTIMONIALS:

From District Leaders (Excerpted from Getting Started With Rigorous Curriculum Design)